Liu Liu

I’ve lived my whole life

FoldedĀ at the waist

A slave to petition

First as a child

Dependent on the pity

Of a mother

Who could neither

Prefer nor sustain her

Then as a student

Who, being spurned,

Could only beseech

Lastly as a woman

Whose rank relies

On the degree of intimacy

Obtained or intended


Your mouth looks as if

It has been ironed on

No aperture, just a bastion

Of conniving teeth

I love you because

You offer nothing

Not even the affectation

Of decency

And I in return

Can give nothing

Having been siphoned

Of both marrow and myth


We share a mutual enemy

Though I never address

Her by name she answers

Through the defacement

Of that which I hold dear

My heart

My safety

My sanity

Surrendered as stamps

To inhospitable nests


I am reading a book set in 19th Century China