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‘Amalgam’ by Steph Wang

— Joyce Chong

Asphalt slopes
past the front door, through the skeleton of
yesterday’s night market.

Setting has a distinct effect on the way a story can be told, it adds a new layer of influence and context that can shift every contingency in a single moment. In this poem, ‘Amalgam’ by Steph Wang in Looseleaf Magazine, setting is the story. Place becomes a lived experience, denotes a state of being of or in, or from, or in-between.

Morning is a hesitant affair. Yesterday’s
weeds replant themselves in the driveway,
the japanese maple curls inward a little

The format is definite: two concrete, distinct bodies, but not quite with the simple purpose of contrasting and comparing. This poem sits more as a pair of photographs framed beside one another. Both of their own context and intention, taken with a different feeling and seen through divergent lenses, influenced by time and shifting affiliation. No, the purpose is not to draw similarities and differences, but to bring to life the pulse and breath of a place; to make animated two singular images.

On the next block people
keep their doors closed but their locks open
and chicken-wire the trees away from the
children. Growth is for backyards –

Looseleaf Magazine