The Invention of Twitter

by | Dec 15, 2021 | Poetry

A young woman in third century China
is pounding hemp fibers to make paper.
She has brought her work to a flat rock
beside a river. Her favorite river.

It is high summer, the grasses are tall
and yellow. They seem to sizzle or murmur
in the wind, and they bring to the woman
the woody, tangy smell of her childhood.

She thinks of the summer she fell
from a small bridge on this river, breaking
her wrist on a slick stone. She wore a sling
and watched the other children running

through waist-high white flowers, jealous.
In tears, she walked down to this bank,
maybe to this same rock, and saw a miraculous frog.
It had a huge purple head, oval eyes, a sideways mouth.

She would rush back, tell the others, draw a picture.
But first, she had to stand here a long time and watch.





Photo used under CC.

About The Author


Jeffrey Bean is Professor of English/Creative Writing at Central Michigan University. He is the author of two chapbooks and the poetry collections Diminished Fifth and Woman Putting on Pearls, winner of the 2016 Red Mountain Prize for Poetry. His poems have been featured in the New Poetry from the Midwest anthologies and online at and Verse Daily. Recent poems appear or are forthcoming in The Southern Review, Colorado Review, Cherry Tree, Sugar House Review, South Dakota Review, and Poet Lore, among other journals.

Books by Jeffrey Bean