Lisa Kwong

Poet photo by Nancy Schneeloch-Bingham

Lisa Kwong, a 2010 Frost Place scholarship recipient, received a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina . Her poems have appeared online at Ishmael Reedís Konch,, and Her poems have also been published in Floyd County Moonshine, The Sleuth, and Virginia English Bulletin. She has performed her work at Appalachian State University, Radford University, Ferrum College, and The Frost Place. She is secretary and event coordinator for her writing group based in the New River Valley of Virginia. As a poetry ambassador, she has organized National Poetry Month readings since 2004 and has been a guest presenter in English classes at Appalachian State University and Radford University .

Flower Song

For my first time on the big stage,
I wore a dress with fire-red flowers
and sang with my clarinet,
each note pouring out of me
like a dozen love letters
I wanted to whisper in his ear,
and I sailed from note to note,
almost forgetting to breathe,
kissed by the melody.


In Tai Shan
1, white robes swallowed
Ma Ma, Ba Ba
2, my uncles, and aunts.
I heard their wailing song as it floated
around Pau Pau's3 still body
clothed in black.

For Yin Yin's
4 funeral in Virginia,
I wore a white blouse and black skirt.
Ma Ma tied a white string
in my hair and in my sisters' hair.
The string felt heavy
as the tears we shed.

Someone took pictures of Ye Ye
5 and Yin Yin
kneeling in the streets of Tai Shan
as they mourned Ye Ye's mother.
Both were covered head to toe
in white, their faces contorted
like crying ghosts.

When I was a child,
Yin Yin said,
"Never wear white in your hair."
I obeyed her and threw away
white ribbons and white headbands.

I now understand why.

Tai Shan=city in the Canton province of China. The dialect of the city is

Ba Ba=father
Pau Pau=maternal grandmother
Yin Yin=paternal grandmother
Ye Ye=paternal grandfather

Seven Haiku: As Riverdale Turns

Veronica pranced
all over Archiekins in
her pink Paris pumps.

Betty cried fiercely,
she wanted redhead Arch, too.
Darn that Ronnie minx!

And Reggie! Greased top,
ego-tripping jerk. Big Moose
loved to crunch punch him.

Lazy, loyal Jug
inhaled hamburgers in one
breath, milkshake in hand.

Boy genius Dilton
could never get a date. Too
smart, too short: bad luck.

Freckled Archie walked
into lockers, flirted with
trouble, pretty gals.

Riverdale High School,
the place for laughs galore, your
eternal teen soap.

Sleuthing for Love

The mystery of your feelings
remains unsolved.
When we touch,
clues color your face.

I want to be your Nancy Drew,
light a twisted candle,
and explore the secret passageways
of your mind.

I would cross a haunted bridge
or wrestle phantoms
to have your fingerprints on my hips,
your heart handcuffed to mine.

I want to crack your case.

("Sleuthing for Love" first appeared in The Sleuth, Issue #15, January/February 2009.)

Copyright © 2010 Lisa Kwong