from A FACTUAL TALE OF SISTERS
She came into this world holding sour in
her nose, an event / animal
on whose tail rode all our afterlives
To peel off insistence she rolled in
grass, citronella and blue star, though
under a sky that’s always curving
I have missed her scent.
beneath a thousand lamps lit in accident
Will we ride out of a bright night forest
abandon all incoming movements
hear unborn bodies clap at their reflections
Sensing a wind
As arid as my mouth
Sucking on your name
Before the sisters fell into their forms there were other stories that waited and waited.
The descriptions return now and again, the way a finch searches the snow for its submerged finchlings, no longer cawing.
A deceptively simple landscape of total whiteness.
—Guised as a linger, always about to fleet, never to fleet.
Not I nor you unmoored by the charge of benevolence.
Hair, first hair, dipped in ink of irises.
From dream to dream the sisters cut lines and lines on each other’s skin.
Peoples of various races twin themselves to recognition.
A single mark of disuse rise like spume to the top, shut-mouthing sympathy with a finality.
You keep telling me to inculcate distrust the way children cannot do harm.
Side-eye the pliant white of this page.
Your white friends? They regard you as liberation, no less.
The door only opens from the inside, a time before the ancient west spat out mythologies that named the planets, forever spoiling their constitutions.
Still, she says lately
she hears things, as if
the soles of her feet are still growing, or maybe it’s
the greed of
collecting salt under her heart when
all the oceans are refusing to spit. Here is
a ______ who decided
against naming her creators
even before she knew anything of
poetry, if she could even speak
before every discarded myth bounded up
her wrists. Who were you and
how can I find you now?
Above all she wanted to be
by no one: She would have the dry winds wait at
any rear entrance she could find, nevermind the
reader wandering toward her: Someone to shift
her vision before a vista of a brink—
Somewhere else a grit chips off a cliff
Grace Shuyi Liew is the author of Prop (Ahsahta Press, 2016) and Book of Interludes (Anomalous Press, 2016). Elsewhere, her work can be found in cream city review, Twelfth House, Puerto del Sol, H_ngm_n, Bone Bouquet, PANK, and others, and her reviews can be found in Fanzine and Waxwing. She is a contributing editor at Waxwing and an editor at Anthropoid. She is from Malaysia and currently resides in Louisiana.