Poetry by Patricia Liu
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Trees blush more deeply than we can — with leaves the color of the inside
      of leaves — if foliage were as red-blooded as five o’clock
            shadow — and if foliage, too, were to hold

the inclination to bear the body inside out, to wear skin and bones
      — down to skin and bones, to be simply muscle
            fiber and spindle and nerve — to be closer

to some other nature. This is the assumption of risk we take. As humans.
      As humanity, as dinner table silence paints our vision
            more salient — Look down. Look forward. Look

here, where the water glass reflects the glass countertop which in turn
      reflects the window — and all that is inside the glass
            — the thick brush of ivy, wood and bannister,

the dog running laps around the lake tonight — tonight I am learning to love
      my mother and my father the way I imagine I will love
            my daughter the way I imagine they love

me. Lineage — I want this to be my choice. I want precedents to take precedence
      — to grab itself by its own shoulder blades this time, by embrace.
            Look up — of course, there is the moon.

Without this moon — and what fills the inside of its curve — its thoughts of the ocean,
      its kinship with the candle that meets flame, and of course,
            the horses — in leisure — the wild horses

that sunbathe on the beach — without this moon, I cannot speak of violence.
      I cannot understand the painstaking lengths the world goes to
            — washing oak trees of their leaves in autumn

— to thread needle — needle and thread — and aren’t we all just waiting for spring
      — and yet, to know our seams are held together by such gentle lines
            is to know the ease with which they let go

— and yet, this thread — this existence at all. How I dream of awakening
      in the middle of the night to an orange lit figure — she is always
            sewing linens — the wire of the bicycle tire,

the pencil stroke, grace note. I can barely bear myself — I think of spring —
      how, many days later, I dream of the same material — cup the water
            to open palms and bring the water to face.