My Forest Lies (after “Mein Wanderlied” by Else Lasker-Schüler)
Dwarf morning hours wait
Until the midnight mushrooms itself
Around my lips, shutting them
Into a proud line, a moss home
Torrential rains write the lake’s ways,
Each with its own salt, gaze and loss
Thousand seasons, light’s vices
Shine on me as I undo my voices.
And I wash them against the waiting stones
Against the fern’s music. Between water and river
Stay my bricks, the pyramid
Of dead Time and its skies.
Herakles was an important Greek hero and the elimination of Geryon constituted one of His celebrated Labors: A Cento
When Geryon was little he loved to sleep but
Even more he loved to wake up.
How new it tasted; the gentlest of violations.
You dream in black and white
I dream in fauve and phosphor
It’s predictable, the logic of dreams. It’s been
January for months in both directions.
He could feel the house of sleepers around him
Like loaves on shelves. I wish you were here
So I could bend a mirror around your face,
Pour you back into you. Every night, the moon
Unpeels itself without affectation. It’s difficult.
Outside the natural world was enjoying
A moment of total strength. A dark slowing
Of time, north light, bastard light,
And everything quiet quiet. With sensitive enough
Instruments, even uprooting a shrub becomes
A seismic event. So much of living is
About understanding scale. Sunset begins
Early in winter, a bluntness at the edge of the light.
Geryon leaned his hot forehead against
The filthy windowpane and wept. This is
Craft, necessary like a roadside deer—a thing
To drive past, to catch the white of, something
To make a person pause,
Say, look, a deer.
The Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson
Calling A Wolf A Wolf by Kaveh Akbar
Measures of Expatriation by Vahni Capildeo
Human Work by Sean Borodale)
Genetically Speaking 2
Behind our house there was a university campus.
The State University of Marine Life—enrolment so low
it was facing closure soon. The campus was large, green,
and empty. I learned to ride bicycle there.
Mom, my sister, and I would ride around the ground,
played badminton. The two of us against Mom.
She’d let us win until we got tired. Then we’d rest
under wisteria vines, and eat 김밥.
In spring the purple scent of the flowers was so hypnotic
it cost me my appetite. Sometimes wind
would blow petals onto my food. I would eat them too
because Mum said we were what we ate and I
wanted to be pretty and mauve.
She called wisteria 포도송이—grape flower—because
of the way it looked. For the longest time I thought
when the petals were shed the buds would bloom into
Wisteria was Mom’s favourite flower. She looked
and smelled like it. I wondered if I grew up right
I would have my own bloom and scent. Seemed im-
possible. My genderless body felt un-
When spring waned the summer heat dried out the vines
and no fruits ensued. The petals tasted flimsy and limp
on my tongue. Later in my botany textbook I read about
the actual grape blossoms.
Nearly all Vitis vinifera grapes have hermaphroditic flowers.
Female and male in one, they’re called perfect. A photo
showed green and spiky sprouts that looked extraterrestrial.
I pushed my nose onto the page. Yes, no scent.