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Debra Kang Dean

Debra Kang Dean’s most recent book is Totem: America (Tiger Bark Press, 2018). She is on the poetry faculty of Spalding University’s low-residency MFA in writing program and lives in Bloomington, Indiana.

By This Poet


It’s Not Easy Being Green

Whatever her story is, today
and every day that I’m here,
she’s here in her long, quilted green coat,
her companion—a beagle?—
nose to the ground, its tail
a shimmy. Unlidded to
lidded trash can they go, and
all along the fence lining the stream,
looking, I think, for whatever
salvageable cast-offs can be found.
By all appearances, she doesn’t need to,
but who knows, maybe she does.
The day after the first snow, she’d stopped,
asked, What’s that you’re doing? and, to my answer,
Yes, she’d said, of course, taiji.
Today, as I turned southwest
into Fair Lady Works the Shuttles, in it
lost, there they were, close by, again,
her companion sniffing along the fence
at court’s edge, and she, standing by. I want
to believe by now that she and I have gone
beyond just being fair-weather friends
as, moving on without pause, we simply
smile, nod, say, Hello. Or don’t.