Lady in the Dark Stairway

My law-daughter prays every night
in the room downstairs. She confesses me,
sometimes she sees a lady in a nightgown
in the stairway watches her before vanishing.
To help her not to fear, I tell her true,
‘She’s me. One night, on my way to the bathroom,
I watched you kneeled, bowed, and prayed.’
‘She’s a ghost or Jin, ma,’ she says.
‘There’s no ghost,’ I tell her. ‘Your sixth sense
lets you see me on the step that night.’
‘I don’t believe that, ma.’
‘Okay. She’s your Jin. Don’t fear.’
‘I don’t.’
One night, heading to the bathroom downstairs,
I saw a woman in the stairway slowly vanishing
into the stream of light. Or, did she? She might be merely
a manifestation of my sleepy psych, like the ghostly woman
on the step was the echo of me?

Stupidity in the Winter Evening

On a windy winter evening, I took a list of
the newspaper subscribers’ name whose
payment was due and walked door to door.
I was only helping for my twelve-year old son,
sick with a cold and resting, following my order.
When approached a chicken wire fence
a big Doberman showed its teeth, growled at me.
Calm down, doggy, I said, my voice low and gentle.
The dog barked. I stood outside the fence,
looked toward the front door to the house, expecting
someone would show up. No one did.
The dog jumped and barked. I waved the little
collection-pouch, hoped they would notice my intention
for being there. Still, no one came to the gate.
The dog stopped barking, his curious eyes on me.
Smart dog, I said, now you know why I am here.

Through the wicket I went into the yard, marched
toward the front door. The dog followed me,
snarling. Calm down, doggy, I commanded.
Next thing I know, I fell to the ground, with the dog
upon me, his eyes of a devil’s, drooling from
its toothy mouth, growled. I thought it will tear
my face in pieces. Then, the door flung open,
and a man shouted, Stop, boy!
The beast got off me. The man shouted to me:
You should not barge in like that. The dog is a killer!

I waved the pouch in his face. I am here to collect the bill
for the newspaper.
Oh, I see. Are you okay?
Just a little ach on my back.
The man handed me the money.
Walking toward the next house, I heard the man muttering:
She’s lucky.
My back pain turned out more serious;
I had to take pain pill, could not bend for a week.

Now, decades later, I realized how careless I was,
that chill winter evening. I should not have trusted
the dog, just because it appeared to obey me.
I still have occasional flare of pain on my back.

Winter Solstice, Guilt

Born on this cold night,
sob of guilt, worse yet,
the war-torn days;
the roars of metallic dragons,
dance in the sea of fire,
trampling on the ashes,
above the shabby shelter.
The hungry new born whimpers
as the buzz of bumble bee, or
howls like an abandoned coyote pup?
How did she do it? How did they manage
to hide from the reds?
Miracle, to have survived, with five kids,
yet to have the infection in his mind,
occasional alcohol wouldn’t wash the wound.
Every solstice night, I fall deep, lost word,
amid the thoughts of the days of horror,
ache to comfort you.
Only if you were here. Then,
I feel your persistence in my bone,
strong and bold as a tiger of you; strength
to go on through the jungle as you did.