Tu Fu's Tartar Horse

Pui Ying Wong


after Mark Perlberg

Tu Fu gazes from his study,
war on his mind. Summer has gone,
as have chattering rivers
and anglers’ banters. The mountain,
grim-faced, receives daily lashes
of rain; even then, it can’t wash clean
the bits and burnt of the soldiers’ fires.

Only thinking of the horse,
her great frame and light hooves,
who can run ten thousand miles
in a fleeting morning,
who is heard of but unseen—
gives him peace
in a night long with an orphan moon.


Pui Ying Wong was born in Hong Kong. She is the author of two full-length books of poetry: An Emigrant's Winter (Glass Lyre Press, 2016) and Yellow Plum Season (New York Quarterly Books, 2010), along with two chapbooks. She won a 2017 Pushcart Prize. Her poems have been published in Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, Plume Poetry Journal, New Letters, Atlanta Review, The New York Times, and The Southampton Review, among others. She lives in Cambridge, MA, with her husband, poet Tim Suermondt.