The roar of the sea close to my ear. A lullaby of trees whirling
outside the window like bodies hung in the gust.
I thought the chimney was a man on the roof. I thought my heart’s systolic sobbing
was the sound of my ancestors tearing their clothes and banging
bones against skinned drums in the treeline artery. But the ersatz birds fell in the dream of Mother’s laughter.
The world ended as it had begun—with unmitigated desire. We squinted through the desiccating beams and rafters at the night sky, which appealed to an economics of indifferent touch, opening its gullet to swallow us whole.
O sky full of planes, O planes full of gods, O kind gods.
We would know what to do if we died.
[CORD: OF THREE-DIMENSIONS : perpendicularity assessed for intersection. CROW, ARGUMENT : CASE: two lines viewed from the vantage point of a bird appear to cross but are thousands of miles estranged]
I carried a jump rope to the tall tree that covered Mother’s window. I looked at the side of her face, a yellow jaw hanging below the darkened comice. She couldn’t see me.
I tied the first knot. The night was so black, the thin twigs of the tree were so black, it seemed as if the leaves were pieced in the sky. My depth perception failed.
The ring of a neighbor’s flashlight appeared on the house next to me. I looked around as the light rotated and then disappeared into the trees like the heart of a forest closing, somnambulant, already in the stomach of the dream.
Emily Liu is a poet and high school student from the Chicago area. Their work has been recognized by the International Hippocrates Young Poets Prize, Pfeiffer University, Poetry Society, and Scholastic Art & Writing Awards and most recently appears in Feral, The Phoenix, and elsewhere. Twitter: @hanxinliu.