Sometime after I graduated college,
my Popo was trying to throw out a large, pink sheet. Upon it depicted a
traditional Chinese dragon and phoenix. The dragon had bright orange scales and
red spikes trailing along its curving body. The phoenix’s head and torso were a
dark forest green, but its wings and tail feathers were brilliantly colored so
that no feather looked the same. Both beings were enshrouded by wisps of
many-colored clouds that made it appear as if they were actually approaching
one another: the phoenix ascending from below, the dragon descending from
above. The colors of these mystical creatures was emphasized by the soft pink
satin that this scene it had been embroidered into.
My aunt, enamored by the image, wanted to keep it, for she
said that it could be used for some craft and would be a waste to toss out such
a fine piece. My Popo didn’t mind the proposition, but thought it appropriate
to let her know that the image depicted a dragon in love with a phoenix, right
before both creatures were about to make love to one another.
To my aunt, it didn’t sound
believable, and she dismissed this tale, telling it to me when I saw her a week
At first, I too could not believe
that copulation was the message. Myths and legends aside, these were two
different creatures: how could they procreate, much less make love to each other?
I’m not trying to be crude, but it’s impossible for me to imagine. Yet, the
more I ponder this sheet’s story, (the sheet is now the cover for a large body
pillow in my room), the more I understand why it never needed to make sense in
the literal sense. No longer do I see bird or reptile, but lovers captivated
with passion for the other. After all, is it not beautiful that these two
rarities, both uniquely different, find equal standing in their shared love for
their kingdom, the sky? Or perhaps I have put words into this image’s mouth
—like my aunt and Popo— when I should let it speak for itself? Is it my job as
the writer to give it a story and meaning, or simply to write how it is
beautiful meaning nothing at all?
Tell me, is this real:
do you truly love me when
you still sleep with her?
Whenever the rain
comes pouring down, my heart longs
for my youthful days.
Why be afraid of
his tiny fire when you are
the entire ocean?
In that instant I
realized that my life was
that smashed butterfly.
Make me a vessel
That You may use me
Fill me up
That praises continually rise
That my joy will always overflow
That all may see and know
The miracle You’ve worked
On the inside
Whose fingers fly over strings
To coax out melancholic notes
Your bow strikes unlike
Those that I am used to
That desire of flesh and blood
But your aim is more deadly
Its course fixated on my heart.
Is there hope in having our fingers crossed,
Or are we destined to be forever star-crossed?
Should I hope that these arms locked,
Will keep each other from falling apart?
Will the vows that from your lips promised
Be all that you said and more than it?
Maybe all that I’ll ever be is a skeptic,
But I question the strength of a mindless heart.
Love, you leave me breathless, yes you do
You also make me feel helpless, that much is true.
Like a child following blindly, is how I feel with you
Loving and being loved by you is a deconstructive art.
love like this
was practically a myth
before you changed my mind
and showed me that it does exist.
Her family doesn’t like
What he talks about
How he calls her “Girl”
The way he treats her
They heard them arguing
They think that he hits her
So her brother hit him back
You could hear his nose snap
Her family tries
To tell her to let him go
To say no to him
To split them apart
She says that
They don’t know his heart
They don’t understand her
They don’t see them
For what they have
So until they do
She won’t see them
She’s had enough
They’ve pushed her so far
That she’s finally snapped
The apartment used to be clean
Because of her
The conversation had continued
Because of her
The meaning in their time together
Was all because of her
Now as the silence grows
As the dishes pile up
As time together matters less
Like the mess on the floor
She’s learned to not care
Just like him sitting on that couch
Eating his pile of snacks
Snapping up the silence