How long he kept your name for himself-
the sea reaches for the smooth breast
of the shore and turns away.
Now the ocean comes back to me in all my poems.
Here the wind whirls your name into crescendo. Where
we lay awake in sandy arsenals
he talked about moving inland. I must have laughed.
Now the pipers pick over the man of war
washed of his armor and shuddering plum dye,
all that is left of this cup of new Narcissus
who was a fool to have settled for the pond when
he could have run into the sea, embracing
hundreds of mollusk admirers who might
die and rot and still call after him. They pine
for their first love down to chiseled bone.
I wished I’d been a monument when
I heard him say, "I’ve met someone." Instead,
I read and re-read the indictment of the tide
slapping the staid shore, wishing to grow gills
and drown kissing air. Then you could cut along my ribs
and pry me open, find flecks of mercury winking
to know that he had flown.
Liz Chang’s second book of poetry and translations What Ordinary Objects is forthcoming from Book-Arts Press. Her original work has recently appeared in Breakwater Review, Apiary Review and the Mad Poets Review. She received her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and teaches college-level English at Delaware County Community College.