Tijua races to the seashore where his uncles and brothers gather in net by the waning sun. He kicks his feet in the low tide and watches. The women in the village whisper, “Monsoon, monsoon,” in voices full of worry and fear. They dry what food they can and carry home extra pieces of wood from the mill, which they must walk miles for since few have oxen or horses, to prop up houses tilted by last year’s storm.

The fishermen drag only seaweed to shore. Given unspoken permission, Tijua runs to Uncle Jie’s hip to help haul in the easy catch. He smiles up at a weathered face, bronzed like the old kettle boiling tea at home. Tijua knows his family will gather around it soon to spin colorful, wondrous stories. He shivers in delight as rope stings his hands, anticipating dreams upon dreams, while the dark outside batters to be let in and listen.



O’er the hill he rides his steed
To memory’s eternity
Years past the deed
The children still whisper of his face
The lance, the chariot, the fearsome mace
The mysterious knight
Against the fading light
The dragons slayed
And the grateful maids
Send shivers of pleasure when again told
Those bygone chivalric tales of old
Yet sunset spells a specious cast
It was her, not his name, that should last.