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ky li

After My Husband Died

for Cathy

My eyes open into the greyscale room

before morning can pixilate the solidity

between ceiling & floor lines or a fleece

melted wax-like over the ear of a chair,

before breathing becomes breath & you

fold each wing under a shoulder blade,

then, slip stealth-like into civilian wear.

I manage the gravity of placing each foot,

of steeling a spine, of remembering to say

your name in a way that allows you to be

more than you appear in the half-darkness.

I wonder if the walls will hold their shape

or evaporate like yesterday when I reached

through a fall & found handfuls of light.


     Our mountain has shattered

into shards of darkened silence.

     The cardinal tapping to get in

has found another way to bypass

hearts no longer beating as one.

     Ancestors pass the peace pipe.

     Smoke sinks into indigo ridges

like blankets of down to comfort

atlas pine who cry at the undoing.

     My love still harbors there, silent,

among the shards, moored between

three pines who reach beyond fume

for some brilliance to shine again or

some stream to break through granite.

Ky li completed an MA in poetry/creative writing in 2018.  Work has appeared in Brittle Star, Dime Show Review, High Shelf Press, Iris Literary Journal, Nine Muses Poetry, Sheepshead Review, The Bangalore Review, The Ibis Head Review, The Oddville Press, Timberline Review, West Trade Review, Word Fountain, and the books Six Voices and Six Voices Two, published in 2017 and 2019 by BlackThorn Press. Ky li has one poem in the current issue of The Gay & Lesbian Review, another in Kentucky Monthly, three poems in Expanded Field, and another poem selected for publication in Wend Poetry.

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