— Gavin Yuan Gao

of gloaming, of spring dirt, of rain
                that we don’t deserve
                                but comes down anyway,

sing one for me though it’s late
                & the gods sleep in trees
                                with one eye open.

Sing one for me so I can climb
                down into its sonic garden
                                like a sprawling taproot

—gravity’s favorite green baby
                pulled back & slingshot
                                into pearlescent being.

My luck, big as a forest fire, rises
                in woodsmoke from the altar
                                of my oil-slick throat

& thrusts into the star-stitched sky
                like a soaring church steeple,
                                my breath an unspooling

filigree of blue steam. Somewhere
                a train wails. The whistle
                                burrows through the night

like a cold bullet, bearing the news
                of a death. Hold me, I say,
                                the way grief possesses a heart.

The way the dark cradles
                the possum in its lulling arms.
                                Sing of a feathered love

so impossible to hurt
                I’ll want to stay
                                close & clear as a thirst.

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