One Poem by Changming Yuan

The Occupant with Apical HCM

Unlike those young strong-bodied athletes
Who may keep running asymptomatically
Until a sudden death, I have had constant
Chest discomfort, short breaths, palpitations
All typical of hypertropic cardiomyopathy
Though a specialist has assured me this is
A congenital condition, which allows me
To live as long as I can make utterances.

Indeed, with an abnormal heart muscle
Thicker at the apex than that of my wife
Or any other fellow being except my son
(Who may carry on this tradition), I can
Soak more consonance, more assonance
Right there than in, say, a big kimchi pot.

Once these syllables become fully fused
With warm blood, my heart will pump them
Out through my yellowish-voiced throat.

Changming Yuan, (co-)author of Chansons of a Chinaman (2009) and Three Poets (2011) as well as a 4-time Pushcart nominee, grew up in rural China and published several monographs before moving to North America. With a Canadian PhD in English, Yuan teaches in Vancouver and has poetry appearing in over 400 literary publications in 18 countries, including Barrow Street, Best Canadian Poetry, BestNewPoemsOnline, CounterPunch, Exquisite Corpse, Mad Hatters’ Review and RHINO. 


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