A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & Owner
Ray Rasmussen, General Editor

Volume 13, Number 3, September 2019

| contents page |

John Zheng
Itta Bena, Mississippi, USA

Alone Time

When I was four years old, my grandma died and my misery began. My parents, who threw themselves into their jobs, decided to send me to a boarding kindergarten. They coaxed me to have many little friends to play with plus three meals per day. So, I went, but noticed that most parents picked up their kids daily at 5 p.m. even though it was a boarding kindergarten. I was one of the only ten who stayed for a whole week. Each evening we were grouped and dispatched to a classroom where two teachers watched us. After we played house for a couple of hours we were put to bed.

I asked my teacher why I couldn't go home, and she smiled, "Your mama and papa are busy with their jobs."

"Do they work at night?"

"It’s time to sleep." She turned off the lights.

In the pitch-dark room, my eyes stared for a long time before I fell asleep.

after telling a tale
grandma gave me
a goodnight kiss
her smiling eyes
a soft night-light

autumn dusk
I languish on the porch
watching the sunset
my parents whine on the phone
I'd call them often