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i can barely grasp onto

my dignity as the rivers run

my cloudy dreams,

whipped into frivolity.

i want to sleep, eyes pressed

to the membrane between

breath and earth, body peeled

open for rain and sun

to enter and bless. so

one day, when i have

no limbic notion,

if a sparrow grazes

my ear i can still




sing, once

upon an eon.

by now, i have

collaged metaphor

from newspaper

cuttings, too

many apples cherry

picked in the skins

of my puddle-dragged

skirt, all seed

and oxidation.

i don't know how i'd ever

paper-mache those lungs

into flesh-soft clay

or campfire tale

so they just blink on

my belly in

freckles of salt

and shell mothering

wrecks and homes

alight, flung to

palms and moons.

i can only trust dust to

become atom, linking

veins with clocks so even

when the coffee melts dry,

a quark can kiss a cheek

goodnight. and know

it was, will be, is

a maple leaf pressed

into a creased spine,

a brush stroking

bond and chemical

into dimension.


i want to paint a cheek with mountainous

cloud & sloping sky, blessing caverns

and speckling meadows with ocean.

i want to hold a palm with my two hands,

trace sinew and pillowy flesh and chart

trajectories where the seams converge.

i want to cradle a neck, fingertip

prickling static and oh-so soft —

butterfly on artery,

wings tucked to chest.

i want to tippy-toe and

sway in infinite loops:

stars steady,

gaze pulsing,

skin rippling in ribbons.

i want to stitch a thread and not disentangle,

i want to fly a kite and lose its tail.

i want the next blink to come,

i want to breathe out

i want

i want




do i

want? or

is it wantonness

wantingness or

wantedness and

do i want

these things or

do i want someone

to want my wantingness,

want the scraps of wrapper and rawness

and parse margin cleaving stanzas:

wanting to sing this silly un-rhymingness and wantingness and

wanting, waiting,

wishing, wanting?


rain skids off and collects

in a puddle around my bare toes.

soft, hardened skin presses into asphalt,

fingers slide on the handle. it slips,

slips down.

a sailboat too wobbly, too big,

lands in the pond at my feet.

clouds drizzle springs,

roses flower on cheekbones,

creeks quench my vision.

my hand opens for the curved handle,

closes around a bouquet.

pink tulips dance in my palms,

petals shed more quickly than rain.


i clutch the forlorn stems,

what’s and if’s

crinkling their leaves.

the boat swings up to cover

my plasticked hair.

my spine uncurls, spins

towards clouds, a sunflower

drawn to the fringe of the sky.

ghost fingers caress, thaw

my clutch. footsteps

skim over tinkling puddle.

a breeze, chilly and sweet

smears salt on my chin.

my head swivels left,


for nothing. tilts down,

gaze at the puddle at my feet.

infinity stares back.

flecks of grey, blurred

with steady drops of cloud.

so that's how it is.

my body unfurls again;

this time, buds adorned.

roots propel me forward,

toes tickled with melancholy


from the milky way.


Vanessa Hu is an avid latte-sipper, occasional ballroom dancer, and serendipitous writer. She studied Computer Science and Ethnicity, Migration, & Rights at Harvard University, and has been published in Doublespeak Translation Magazine, Babel Language Magazine, and The Wave Asian Arts Magazine. You can find her ruminations @vanessahu_ on Twitter and at

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