July in the Park
There is a man fishing for the moon.
I ask him how: he simply tells me to remember.
Inhale, exhale. There isn’t too
much more to deduce. How many several
mores does it take to figure out the
boundaries of the urban?
Children chase their reflections in my smoke.
I see them as mothers, and as their own.
Samantha cuts the birthday cake and
the company giggles. Over there!
Two and two are competing,
and triumphs become difficult to distinguish.
When did I gain the gift of hindsight?
The wind vanishes as quickly as
it came. The music during this
time of year never leaves, and
neither do the regulars. Reclined on
patchwork quilts, they never stop singing.
I will ride a current home.
I will know on which door to knock for a favor.
If I plant my nails into the ground,
will they grow into fingers, or into a body
that casts its rods into sky, reeling
in chunks of an elysian tomorrow?
About Mating Rituals
On my way to you
I stepped past two birds
caught in a mating ritual.
I was moving away from
concrete towards the
southeast streams like
I did every Friday evening
to scoop your hair and
with you about the weather.
One was orbiting around
the other and the other
looked bored, as if it
were granting the other
a favor, and I joined
the crowds in walking
reverently around the
pair, afraid of disturbing
the inescapability of
ritual in the animal kingdom,
where dancing becomes
obvious, and there’s no
more direction: upwards,
I was trying to be at your
doorstep by the half hour
so we could turn on the
radio and agree on
something to bring our
legs to verticality, so like
fish finding their way
upstream, or bats back
to their caves, we would
do it, without needing
to know how. And in
the morning, there would
always be the weather,
and you would always
be there, waiting: for
my eyes to rise, for the
sun to continue, for the
strange reassurance in the
tomorrow to come.
The birds perched on the clothesline
that hangs like slow spit do not
find it shameful to sit among my
drying unnecessaries: ripped lace panties,
a sodden dish towel, an old scarf too
delicate to throw in the wash.
We are nothing but common citizens
of this place, indistinguishable from
the dark, connected by a lingering
economy of shadow.
Amy Gong Liu writes poetry and prose about the Sino-American diaspora, translation, longing, loss, and more. Her work has been published in Quarto, Echoes, Tabula Rasa, and Ratrock Magazine. She thinks too much (or perhaps too little).