We are a public forum committed to collective reasoning and the imagination of a more just world. Join today to help us keep the discussion of ideas free and open to everyone, and enjoy member benefits like our quarterly books.
If I were to hover you, famish you
with my curtained shade of hair, would you
remind me of casseroles, literal
translations, the day of the immanent
visitor I have long been awaiting,
if I were to say the language of your hesitance
makes smile fear would you accompany
me to a museum, to a sky-sailed ship?
If I could sit only facing you, I would try
poly-syllabics, everything rhymed with
wood, delicate Appalachia, even
the apex of a Virginia I have
never seen the island of your liver,
the Africa of your small arm, the tack
we push and fall back on, how wind is made
alluvial, how bends become second
nature, I cling to you and am silenced
on Hart Street a man howls no
at the morning, each time I visit a cat
turns a corner, not black
but red, red as silhouettes and translations—
marionettes and carnations, imagined
clefs—treble, bass, beveled staffs un-wood to
reveal themselves, uncurl and anoint
us, with harp sounds and with singing, I am
bringing you this orchestra, it is
in the overhead compartment of my transitory
heart, here beside the leather valise that holds
the sweaters I packed with free associations,
camisole, I confront my expectations, I
bow to the bowl of rations—I never asked for these,
sleeves of a garment banister, up
the hatch to your roof on Hart Street, I examine
the sky for signs of marvel and chipped
plaster, but super heroics are absent, only alabaster
as though we had been shingled in camera,
a porthole of aperture every light year, I speak
of miracles as though exposure were
some simple gift, I lift the inlets of your hands
to imprison me, the hinges of your fingers
are majesty in constellation Ursa, in the supermarket
deity, I live with your formica
knells, in the aisles, rice and paper on the floor moat
us, we devote us, we sit here and we wait.
Vital reading on politics, literature, and more in your inbox. Sign up for our Weekly Newsletter, Monthly Roundup, and event notifications.
“Never do unto me what your uncle has done to us.” A family member’s disappearance leads to personal revelations.
Critics say human rights discourse blunts social transformation. It doesn’t have to.
“My mother has not slept for seven days.” A Taiwanese woman’s brother avoids calling their mother, setting off an insomniac unraveling.