Li Hua's Messenger

By Peter Bethanis Peter Bethanis
In a hut far from the village   
Li Hua bends over his canvas   
like an insect.   

He is so deliberate,   
each stroke is a spider's legs   
fighting the current.   

There is a war in his veins,   
a battle of desires.   
He is jealous of Li Po   
whose pictures glide   
like the moon over dark water.   

I do not wish   
to disturb him   
as he tries to make art   
in this time of death,   

so I will wait,   
like a fly on the tip of a stick,   
until he is finished.

Source: Poetry (March 2001).


This poem originally appeared in the March 2001 issue of Poetry magazine

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March 2001
 Peter  Bethanis


Peter Bethanis teaches English at Ball State. His poems and essays have appeared widely in magazines such as Tar River Poetry, Lullwater Review, and Country Journal. His manuscript, In Praise of Dirt, is available to an interested publisher.

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