F o o t p r i n t s of Loneliness


Tina Chang6TinaChang5

F o o t p r i n t s of Loneliness

I am hunted by my father’s lack of approval
And haunted by my mother’s naiveté
How a family can live on inside
A psyche, for good or ill, but one day

Our parents die; we may even lose touch with a brother
The empire in which we were born
Might lose its world-power and prestige

Taunted by a ruined name, we live on
With each version of our childhood we remember
We must pass a threshold of regret

And carry a student’s debt into the decades
I don’t know if it’s secrets which I carry
Or simply the dread of ancestors and descendants
The broken chain that started with me

Hypnotized by shadows, too poor to settle anyhow
Our ovaries will dry up one day
And my fleshy handle won’t be operative

If I were a dream you could say I unravelled
My mortality, but truth does not matter here
Only that answers we tell ourselves at the end of a long day
And the souls who save us with kindness and security.

We are one Flesh


57

We say we are one flesh:
Two bodies in one heart
Sharing the cries of star to star
Species united, countries melted

On a girl’s throat from the
Tunic of Earth, with a rose of breasts
And longing that is a mouth
That never has enough food

To couple and not stay single
We say we are one flesh:
With two minds of one faith
Sharing the circle and space

That divides our respective births
Future united, and boundaries melted
On a boy’s muscle from the
Gardens of Earth, with a surplus of desire

And consuming fire
That can never be possessed
Love is the way that lovers never know
The shortest way to find love

That never turns aside and never goes
But which reminds us that
We are one flesh.

Photo Courtesy: http://www.deviantart.com/art/Only-a-Way-into-the-Sun-404677679

Power of Landscapes


3

We were all still lives in a landscape
Carrying on our shoulders the preferences
Of a world in waiting, being born

From our chest emerged
The stub of progress
A leg bone of surviving

Dignity that approached
The macrocosm with underlying
Curiosity, humility, midnight affairs

With far-away stars, we were
The children of death, or so it seemed
Ready to produce, consume, destroy –

Maybe we were not models of being mortal
But elements raged around us
That hit us like glass, bone, metal, flesh

Our families could not abandon matter
We gave line to inheritance, jerking back
From the end-of-life, no matter the obstacles

We were all living in a landscape
Of pyramids of our own species.

Photo Courtesy: http://www.deviantart.com/art/Riding-Sunrise-401736095

Like the Quiet Pinch of Ovaries


65

At the cutting edge of the recurring now/
It must have been a trick of time
That brought us together, stop-motion universe

Laughter in reverse, some lapse /
Of concentration and epiphany of choice
A direction so mutually unassuming

It seemed natural, like retreating /
From a downpour, or taking a break
When we truly didn’t require one –

Something must have told me, nudged me/
As if a long afternoon, with broken continuity
The future is a lapse, where our heart

Falls, the flower petal we step over/
Without noticing, the riot of the unseen
Hands of change, ahhh! That’s enough

To make one happy, The birds feel it/
The seagulls abandon everything for it –
I’ve felt it a few times, maybe less than some

The human torch of the flame moving on/
The floor of a melted life, turning forty
Honey, news and loneliness

Where did my life go – with what force of memory/
To which latitude and why, these are things
That require constant negotiation, careful

Acceptance, at the end of days/
I stacked in a corner all the things I could let go.