BY HUA XI
You carry a notebook everywhere.
its first editions,
its marked-up outlines,
its very early initial drafts.
It's still wet out and the edges
of the damp sheets begin to curl
as if haunted.
a single chicory petal
between two pages of snow
in a copy of Basho. It hides
away there like a fugitive.
Yellow post-it note.
There was a time
when the words
spoke to you in English.
A time when your father
drank every day.
Crossing the park,
you notice it,
around the benches,
the perfume of liquor
in the dead and dying morning.
The sign a cold night had lay there.
Maybe had been real.
In the parking lot, common dandelions
sprout without meaning anything.
People have written GOD in spray paint
on the dumpster to the side of the freeway.
You write PRAY with your toes in sand at the cape.
Erase the rock pools and the touching and the low tide.
There is. There isn't. You are. Nothing is not.
Everything is true if it is still alive.
Somewhere. I hope you know that.
I hope the grass.
Listen to "So Long, Lonesome" by Explosions in the Sky, selected to accompany Hua's work, below:
HUA XI is a poet and artist. She is interested in flowers, telephone lines, train stations and time. Her writing can be found in places like Boston Review, Narrative Magazine and Electric Lit.