Yu-Han Chao

Satyr Song

Singing of ice-cut hills, I leap. Half goat, half poet, I.

     This rock beneath my goat-shoe feet is at the bottom of the sea, covered with coral-fingered algae, green fur, bird feet oyster shells, nestled in feathered heath.
I sing: hill top, sea bottom.


They sing, but not to me.
Four wave-hills down, the magic shore

where mermaids mate

in leopard seas

A patchwork mountain cat carpets the bay. On the side sits a cold furnace.

     For all the fire has gone into my hair; I burn the tips of grasses. See my mound blaze!

     I am visible only in parts.

Careful the red-tipped heather and sorrel-my hairs-easily crushed.
Do not pebble rock puddles-my eyes are scattered lakes often ripple-blurred. An eddy leaves me myopic for hours.

     What is this spittle-like substance in the grass?

Not cuckoo spit or insect foam, no. 

They are my tears, perspiration, and saliva, induced by sea maidens revealing too much glinting flesh beneath their sea lace and luxurious furs. The truth, when told, is always appreciated. And when in the hills, avoided.

     Shifting winds, my meandering song.

Summer, the latest, shortest, season. Yesterday lasted till today; the bog cotton has gone. I grow old.

     My hooves skid on wet rocks; I tumble into cow dung and forget-me-nots. The mockingbird laughs differently each time. My coat is spotted, my hair in knots. I am scarred from barbed wire; I have a paunch.

     And still, over these ice-shone, sea-washed hills, I leap, leap somewhat limp.

Yu-Han (Eugenia) Chao was born and grew up in Taipei, Taiwan. She holds an MFA from Penn State and her writing has appeared in Bellevue Literary Review, Wisconsin Review, Zyzzyva, and other venues.  Her poetry collection, We Grow Old, is forthcoming with Backwaters Press, while her short story collection, Passport Baby, is forthcoming with Rockway Press. Sample her writing and artwork at her website here.