Four Anecdotes From the Life of Dang Yo-une

I
He stood outside the gates of Lhasa for four days
singing I fall upon the thorns of life,
I bleed, but the berries are delicious
if you remember to wash them.

                           II
The surface of his coca-cola sparkled so—
atoms of joy leapt from it like salmon in mid-stream!
He drank, then wiped the fish off his lips.

                           III
Wearing the pussy white suit of an astronaut
he tried to mount his horse
who pushed him baroquely
till he fell rococo and lanced.

                           IV
Innumerable horses race insanely
into the peak of battle
unaware Admiral van Euckhuysen is a tulip.
Dang, too, pretended he was a cat
and buried a bone.

Mary Ruefle, “Four Anecdotes From the Life of Dang Yo-une” from Post Meridian. Copyright © 2000 by Mary Ruefle. Reprinted by permission of Carnegie Mellon University Press.
Source: Post Meridian (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2000)