More poems and contributor notes in Chinese feature



Timothy Liu

Timothy Liu

Hazy, Hot and Humid

Stories told by abuse survivors sounding more or less the same.

The fat drops and the thin unraveling our moods.
Soaking us down to the skin.

Only so many ways to be violated.

Duration not the question.
Rather the intensity as streets grow wet and slick.

Lip prints left on storefront glass floating far above the crowds.

Overheard in the Belly of the Whale

Disrupted by the opening bars.

Of earnest conversation.

The hours trimmed with fat.

With games of solitaire.

Sturdy as opposable thumbs.

This isn't Sunday School.

Or a round of Old Maid.

You've got to ante up, hear?

I'm talking inside the marrow.


Bodily need unmet where touch surpasses want as one reverberates all day

from the unremembered dream. Monuments wanted for every passing
moment—a pigeon balanced on each bronze wing of an angel overlooking

an anonymous grave. If we die, we died with our eyes on, the romantic said.

That's how palpable all should have been on earth as in the mind. Wordless
conversations that shaped us unannounced. The two of us standing there

with dust in our throats, two freight trains uncoupled at last. As if awaiting

judgment every moment of our lives, we who had lounged in bed with voices
burning like winter sun across the sea on which we sailed. He who sings

no more once sang to me, nurtured slow on lullaby, chords of troubled peace.