With love

Poetry

Island

Island

This is the iconography of people who have

taught you how to build brick houses on

a foundation of popsicle sticks and Elmer’s Glue. 

In the holiness of silence,

hip to hip stomped into the corner of the oven 

preset to 400 Fahrenheit. 

Against the dish towels,

he leaves himself in you—

marking his territory.

You a fire hydrant.

You a line at the end of a lawsuit.

You the moon, him an astronaut

forcing his America onto the surface

until his flag is waving proudly—yours turned white.

Until he’s made a place for himself inside you

and you are learning to scoot your ugly flesh

to the corner of the bed, shivering without sheets,

learning to keep him warm despite your lack 

of central heating.

This is the iconography of people who have

mentored you into deaf ears.

You’ve run out of lullabies

and the stream of punches holds

your head under the swimming pool

while “Sunshine Superman” plays above the water.

This is the iconography of people who have

taught you how to build brick houses.

The broken melismas of forgetting are mapped out

like the continents and somehow

you’ve become Hawaii.

If only love were a little longer,

if only it didn’t look like knives.

Elizabeth Hsieh