A native New Yorker, James Penha (he/him) has lived for the past three decades in Indonesia. Nominated for Pushcart Prizes in fiction and poetry, his work is widely published in journals and anthologies. His newest chapbook of poems, American Daguerreotypes, is available for Kindle. His essays have appeared in The New York Daily News and The New York Times. Penha edits The New Verse News, an online journal of current-events poetry. Twitter: @JamesPenha
From a hut at the far end
of the paddy the old scareman’s
hands pluck strings stretched across
the frets of rice in turn in time
to flutter white flags arrayed
knotted to startle peckish birds.
When the days are merely cold,
but nights freeze the maple trees,
I bore up far as xylem
to set the spiles, hang the buckets,
wait for warmth to move the trees to
donate ichor. Sweet sap flows.