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    Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY is delighted to announce the following poems have been nominated for inclusion in 2024’s Best of the Net anthology: Flight Path by Laura RodleyThe Sonnet by Ed HackRailway Station, Bendery, Moldova by Tovli SimiryanBaptism by Greg WatsonMaking Up by Larina WarnockAll the best stories are true by Julia Klatt Singer —read more—

Vinegar by Peg Duthie


The screen shows me “cù,”
which my Pinyin-resistant eyes
insist on reading as “coo.”
I press a button. “Tsooh!”
the recording declares, the voice
bright as the mirror I scrubbed this morning
with yesterday’s paper, marveling yet again
at how its letters did not melt
from paper to glass. My brain

is as stubborn as a mirror, refusing
to hold the Mandarin words
I’ve tried to imprint on it,
to wear the language of my eyes
as easily as a scarf or a tan.
But sometimes a syllable
swims out from the past—
my mother saying “tsoh”
while cooking supper.

Who knows which accent
coated her rendition—
Tainan Hokkien,
peasant Mandarin,
cradle Japanese
or off-the-plane in-jokes?

It’s all in the hotpot—
this life of letting things simmer
before I speak. Of knowing how truth
is so often sensed as sour or harsh
and yet so utterly necessary.

by Peg Duthie

Twitter: @zirconium
Instagram: @zrpeg

Editor’s Note: This poem’s imagery is lightly applied, but skillfully utilized as it ushers the reader from one thing (learning a language) to another (a realization).


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