Two Poems

Grace Shuyi Liew



If there is a plea, there is a white man kneeling, neck exposed to prayer. His hands are folded at his lap. He wants the sounds in his head to inhabit one, two, three, four, … bodies, each a vehement replica of the previous, ad smooth infinitum. He confesses he owns you. Says your tail was molded after the ease of his walk, your reek the breaths he expels.


He instructs you to stretch your arm out ahead of you. He instructs you to slowly bend each finger. He instructs you to watch every quiver. He watches you remember the mark of your own construction, of having been made so.




They grew up sharing
         a tail

                      whose soft unworn end could cut a


sharp line across the
       smallest winds.


                          With the years they fell, tail first


             Down a captive country netting loosed faces
             Two pairs of hands sewn to two pairs of cheeks


             really        just another myth-made victim miring
                                 among indigo clouds


                      another sand angel flailing the white desert


After years, months, days of assurances pouring in
           from all over the realms the sisters
           finally embrace their nationlessness / The crassness of
           discussing nations must have left a mark she and she
           has to bear / on any given face /
           soft addiction hemmed inside
           sworn fantasies


                 Some have said ashes to white ashes


                 Some have revealed the realizations of foreign women


The fissured coats she drapes
Her sister’s stitched body / billow like weak


Before long the sisters learned
        the privilege of sucking on a single, lucid name


Mouth on mouth.


Misty vapor
                          gathered around their snaked bodies,
                          snaked tails, the world’s first
Wild blue matrimony. Outwardly,
                          there is nothing
                                  obviously fecund about their tail
        Carrying all the life to come
All the life to be decided
        at a later date or strewn
        the way conscience
        releases itself from bough to
        white bough as a
Wild thing uncoiled
“Carry” and “Dissimilation” are parts of a chapbook that won Ahsahta Press’s 2015 Chapbook Contest, forthcoming soon.
Grace Shuyi Liew’s next project is on spaces. Her work has appeared or will appear elsewhere in PANK, Bone Bouquet, West Branch, Puerto del Sol, Twelfth House, H-ngm-n, and more. She is from Malaysia.