Back to Issue Forty-Six

The Skies Don’t Understand



The sky doesn’t have a bed
to go home to, so what
does it know about emptiness?
That every day, a train
leaves me and goes
and goes.
Staying late again, I worry
that when I die
I won’t be anything
but myself.
And my life is too heavy
to take the air’s startling directions.
This morning, the industrial plants were in full bloom
as the winds headed into their offices of sand
while the fresh earth began printing another faraway copy
of its sticky paddle palms, unopened flowers,
and pages of mistranscriptions.
I look at the mountains,
but they do not look back.
The hills touch each other gently
as if they had permission
and I want
to lay myself down
wherever I am missing.
The distance turns
to me to ask
how far.
I ask the stars why they always come
and stand quietly in the back of the room
without ever saying sorry.


The Past Still Needs Me



In a dream, rain ran past me.

Half-shouting, half-stumbling. Tripping over its dress of rain.

Beauty always seems to rush straight through me. On its way to someplace else.

Years ago, a younger and more innocent rain
fell across the doorway where my mother lingered, carrying laundry.

Behind her, cherry blossoms boomed across a cave of pure sky.

Which is how I remember it.

Which is maybe how it happened.

When I look back for too long, the beauty is gone.

In a dream, I walk across a plain carrying books filled with flowers.

People in books carry tulips and secrets and hand-written letters to each other.

Maybe my life is trying to tell me something. These days,

I want to wander. But the past still needs me.

And anyways, how could I?

A boat is no good in the rain.

I fill my useless boat with useless flowers. Sail uselessly across the sea.

When Ulysses asked for wind, it’s because he knew exactly what he would be losing.

But my journey is a child made of rain. Already lost.

Where else can I still hope to arrive?

When I come back to life, I hope to be more than my suffering.

Like, my god the rain is so shimmering, glad and beautiful. I want to be like that.

Over everything.

Hua Xi s a writer and artist currently living in the Bay Area.

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