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Jianqing Zheng


Kingston Beach Scene by Jaime Prosser

a landscape calendar
on the backseat

Jon and Jane walk to the beach after attending Uncle Tank’s funeral in Ocean Springs. They sit on a pier bench to feel the massaging of sea wind. Jon recalls that there was an old pier where Tank and his wife Liz liked to sit on a bench chatting or listening to lapping waves, but it was blown away by Hurricane Katrina.

fall evening
empty the mind
to the sea

Raised up by Tank and Liz after his parents died in a car crash, Jon has a close relationship with his uncle and auntie. He says he enjoyed his playtime on Saturday afternoons when he was a little boy, building sandcastles with Liz or fly-fishing on the pier with Tank.

story time
even stars perk up
their ears

A brown pelican hunches on a pillar as if in a trance. It leers when Jon moves closer to grab a shot. “Don’t disturb the bird.” Jane’s soft voice sounds more and more like Liz’s. On the beach a playful boy runs after seagulls.

a fishing float bobs
up and down


About the writer:
Jianqing Zheng is the author of A Way of Looking, a collection of haibun and tanka prose which won the Gerald Cable Book Prize, and editor of Conversations with Dana Gioia. He teaches at Mississippi Valley State University where he edits Valley Voices: A Literary Review.

Image: Kingston Beach Scene by Jaime Prosser. Oil on canvas. No size specified. 2008. By free license.

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