Poems by Paula Yup

Paula Anne Yup was born in Phoenix, Arizona and attended college in Los Angeles and graduate school in Montpelier, Vermont. She has had over seventy poems published in magazines and anthologies including Mid-American Review, Earth's Daughters, The Contemporary Review, What Book?!, Feathers, Fins and Fur, and Earth Beneath, Sky Beyond.  Her book, Making a Clean Space in the Sky, came out from Evening Street Press in 2011.  Preview it at GoogleBooks.

Paula Yup makes her home in the Marshall Islands.

Gardener's Delight

My friend on Penzance Point e-mails
pictures of our friend Millie's twin
grandsons and I'm laughing
their perplexed baby faces
at this new world inexpressible.
I finish a mauve vest
made from kool-aid dyed yarn
for my Penzance Point friend
and her summer birthday.
She plants flowers by the sea.
Away from our garden in Spokane
I face a new world not know what
to expect:
a new Garden of Eden with new
rainbows may be on my horizon.

Husband in Honolulu

Me sick and alone at home
hands weak back awry
plants in containers thirsty
here in the tropics
this new year great I say
greets me hiding out in my room
no parties my friends left this island
so long ago it seems to me
only the geckoes keep me company
so outside this morning I’m dizzy
pouring gallon jars of rainwater
for tomatoes, for eggplants,
for basil and whatever else
greets me after a sleepless night
nightmares of my brother’s wife sick of cancer
of my father on a feeding tube
over two years now
all I can do silent and sleepy
pouring rainwater pouring

Many Gardens

I've had many gardens
bordering my life
never at my center
mother's squash garden
which I'd water later to eat
my mother's squash soup
the dorm garden at college
a friend would water
one hot summer
the farm my boss didn't
allow me to tend
like a daffodil I worked the stand
washed dishes for the bakery
folded napkins for the tearoom
made gazpacho at my house
the tomatoes, peppers and avocado
too ripe to sell to summer people
or racing through Kew Gardens
on a honeymoon only fifteen minutes
till closing I'd pose with gargoyles
running really fast
until a guard chased us out

Escaping Excuses

I try to be invincible
someone who proves
that I'm ok
So no one can say
I'm making excuses
in my life
everything I tackle
hunky dory
It's like catching rain really
no matter how hard I try
to capture those raindrops
my fingers fail

Valentine's Day 2011

I'm missing my friend
she is already ashes
a funeral soon

Lani gets flowers
tonight right outside the door
holds them in her arms

When talking to May
hard to explain my island
my castaway life

The dog barks and barks
meanwhile I sit quiet
will I let them in

I'm not a weeper
which has my tears surprise me
after all this time

When it comes to food
May's children don't like Chinese
they're not used to it

A week seems too long
to attend a funeral
that's how it worked out

On Tokyo trains
how I loved to write haiku
feeling the motion

Life as an expat
slipping on a banana
I get nothing right

May lets a dog in
the other one stayed outside
it is a dog's life

Lani does homework
pages and pages of math
even when she eats