Kathleen Hellen

Festival of Season Words

Orbit: The Asian American Issue
Volume 15:3, Summer 2014

Festival of Season Words

I was born in the moon of the seventh month. The waters clear, receding, no longer muddied by the small deer feeding, sparrows circling rice fields or the snipe, shrike, wagtail quail migrating. In autumn’s dry-voice leaves, the cicada cried “priest,” the worms, small “ji.” I was born in the literary moon. New coolness in the river of intensity. I ate of mackerel clouds (refreshing), listened for the “pow” as the pawlonia’s leaves dropped, the sound of scarecrow fulling blocks. The first-storm opening to bottom of the dusk. I was born in the moon of the seventh month.


This poem previously appeared in The Girl Who Loved Mothra by Kathleen Hellen (Finishing Line Press, 2010) as well as Mythium.


Kathleen Hellen is the author of Umberto's Night (Washington Writers' Publishing House, 2012), winner of the Jean Feldman Poetry Prize; and a chapbook, The Girl Who Loved Mothra (Finishing Line Press, 2010), published under the pseudonym Shiori (translated as "poem, weave"). Her poems have been published in American Letters & Commentary, Barrow Street, New Letters, Prairie Schooner, and Witness. Awards include poetry prizes from H.O.W. Journal and Washington Square Review, as well as The James Still Award and two Pushcart nominations in 2013. Her chapbook Pentimento is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. Born in Tokyo, Japan, Hellen lives in Baltimore and teaches at Coppin State University. To read more by this author: Kathleen Hellen: Langston Hughes Tribute Issue