Measure for Measure, October 2016

Images

what stuns you what tears into you
these images that make your eyes bleed
i can’t imagine going through
without having in my possession
the sight of you on monday mornings
your face open and floral,
pressed into cotton
every small death you may have endured
melting snow and my back coiled from you in bed,
knowing what the light can do
to you, mythologized creature, unforgiving thing
silent night beneath contaminated skies
pure story of your touch that is
forever ungiving, too private and close to grief
so i turn away from you, over again like dead leaves
sinister rivers that flow incorrectly

— Laetitia Duler

The
Meaning of
Trees
(for Ben Parker)
“Bible” than in “tree,”
I have not grasped it.
My god is not of substance. My god
is an absence which I have kept locked up,
forgotten among memories of poor acoustics
and the unknowable mysteries of the booming voice;
there were several voices, they came at me from all quarters,
they told me to repent the crime of my humanity,
they used words I don’t understand, they told me to stay awake,
not to sleep at night, not to sleep but in the embrace
of God—which I interpreted and practiced
by falling asleep in church—to dream incessantly,
to speak, not to voice, to voice, not to speak;
I learned about angels and aspired to become one,
I hardly spoke or ate, I practiced my flight on the swings,
I spread my fingers against glass and willed rain
into my lungs, if only I could have drowned by God’s work
I could perhaps come to understand
why it is that leaves bud on my arms in spring,
why birds come to perch in my branches,
why I grow cold each year and disappear,
why we grow crooked and lined with age,
why love of life seizes me only so long
as there is light by which to see
my fragile veins and brittle bones.

— Jean Kim

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