{An Umbrella Special Feature}

Jee Leong Koh

is the author of three books of poems, including the recently published Seven Studies for a Self Portrait (Bench Press).

His poetry has appeared in Best New Poets (University of Virginia Press), Best Gay Poetry (A Midsummer Night’s Press) and New Poetries V (Carcanet Press).

Born and raised in Singapore, he lives in New York City, and blogs at Song of a Reformed Headhunter.

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The Children and the Swans                           the swans preening
In the shaken warmth of early March

—Eavan Boland, “The Liffey beyond Islandbridge”

The swans, one black, one white,
steer in the man-made lake
the children’s eyes to them,
and hoist the children’s hands.

When the bread is pitched
with childish force and aim,
and the great birds bend their
heads to peck at a crumb,

the children know they’ve won
a prize. They can make swans
come to them. They can break
the waters. They can even fly.


[Originally published in The Brownstone Poets Anthology.]