– Poetry by Mark Gordon, Paintings by Hsiao-Pei Yang

“Summer Forest,” Hsiao-Pei Yang


A Half-mile Away

A half-mile away
we hear the chortles
at the beach
the way the young
summer’s heat

We no longer want
to be there
in bikinis
in our flesh
but appreciate
their taking on

the task we left behind
being young
being high
in the arms of summer


Salt Creek

I don’t know why it’s called
Salt Creek. It’s 1500 miles
from the ocean.

“Quiet Afternoon,” Hsiao-Pei Yang

Perhaps there is salt buried there.
Perhaps the salt
from laboring hands
has seeped into the riverbed
after generations
of accepting what the weather
gave, good crops and bad.

This reminder of our origins,
how we flopped in the waves
before we dared
to walk on land.

Now we cross it daily
this winnowing creek
insignificant as the nearby towns 
yet it carries us
back to the place
where we all wore skins,
made fires, loved
under the moon, and prepared
our simple darts
for the next day’s endless hunt.

I repeat its name. It repeats my footsteps,
reflects my stooped frame
gives me a new reason
to let myself dally
in its mud-filled gaze.



Mark Gordon is a novelist and poet who grew up in Halifax, Nova Scotia. His poetry has appeared in numerous literary journals in Canada and the United States, including Poet Lore, Quiddity International, and Roanoke Review. His three published novels are The Kanner Aliyah, Head of the Harbour, and The Snail’s Castle. He is presently living in Toronto, Canada. He maintains the website, which he cordially invites you to visit.



Originally from Taiwan, Hsiao-Pei Yang graduated from, NTU in Taiwan, with a bachelors degree in Zoology and masters in Marine Biology. She came to Ithaca to earn her PhD from Cornell University in the field of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. After working as an assistant professor, research scientist in universities and government institutes, as well as a project manager/lead scientist in a private company, she returned to her family to be a full-time mom. Just two years ago, Hsiao-Pei began her journey as an artist. She is a self-taught oil painter, starting from portrait paintings. Learning the facial curvatures of loved ones and capturing serene landscapes has brought her the inner peace she never experienced in any other line of work.