Nobel Chan

Why Do I Look Up To You*

These are not my tears, daughter dear
But the sheen of dew that lingers here.
These moans are of a passing train
That circles through the echoing plain.
Do not heed these childish cries,
For they belong to summer skies,
The birds above are singing true,
They sing, my love, my love for you.
And do not fear the crow that wings
Around the birds in midnight rings,
The crow has come to make a friend
The vulture come to make amends.
Daughter dearest, if you can
Forgive the shrike that pierced your hand.
Past other fields, where other fathers lie
Who kept their daughters far better than I.

*The first and last two lines are paraphrased from the Adventure Time episode "Thanks for the Crabapples, Giuseppe," and these lines inspired the tone of the rest of the poem.

The Almost Sonnet

I met a boy once by the eastbound train

As I made my way home from Chinatown.

I was composing a song’s first refrain,

He sat there reading a book with a frown.

I heard a voice say the train’s running late,

I saw his hair sway like grass without sound;

I wanted to call him, but my voice frayed

And fell, tangled up, my words running out.

The wheels rumbled thunder, in came the train,

He rose and stirred up the darkness and doubt.

I followed suit—there was nothing to say—

I had to mind all the gaps underground. 

    Just one seat apart we sat the whole way,

    Yet two lives apart, except for one day.

Nobel Chan is an undergraduate student at Boston University, studying English and Deaf Studies. Hailing from Hong Kong, she loves reading, writing, and musical theatre. Her work has been published in several magazines and anthologies such as Applause. She hopes to continue writing poetry and short stories in the future.