By Mark Belair

Only a knife fight

could have given his face

scars like that, this elderly, portly

Chinese man absorbed with the path of

some migrating birds so far up in the sky it took

a careful study of his watch to find what it was he was

watching with such soft, tender, distance-closing attention;

a gentleness earned, as seems written in faded script on his face,

over long years.


Mark Belair is a drummer and percussionist based in New York City. His poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Atlanta Review, Fulcrum, Harvard Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Poet Lore, Slipstream, The South Carolina Review, The Texas Review, Sanskrit, and The Sun. He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and his chapbook collection, Walk With Me, has recently been published by Parallel Press of the University of Wisconsin at Madison. For further information, visit


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