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About this Poem 

"'Holding Pattern' is a meditation on separations, reunions, and of course that sweet frustration of delay that comes with circling and circling before making the final landing. Perhaps all love affairs are conducted long-distance, whether locations and/or circumstances separate the fated lovers."
—Timothy Liu

Holding Pattern

Timothy Liu
Intermittent wet under
cloud cover, dry
where you are. All day
this rain without

you—so many planes
above the cloud line
carrying strangers
either closer or

farther away from
one another while
you and I remain
grounded. Are we

moving anyway
towards something
finer than what the day
might bring or is this

an illusion, a stay 
against everything
unforeseen—tiny bottles
clinking as the carts

make their way down
the narrow aisle
no matter what
class we find ourselves

seated in, your voice
the captain's voice
even if the masks
do not inflate

and there's no one
here to help me
put mine on first—
my head cradled

between your knees.

Copyright © 2014 by Timothy Liu. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on February 19, 2014. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Copyright © 2014 by Timothy Liu. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on February 19, 2014. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Timothy Liu

Timothy Liu

Timothy Liu (Liu Ti Mo) was born in 1965 in San Jose,

by this poet

poem
fire in that square floodlit by crimson

gels left onstage a floating red silk 

scarf that snaked around the nimblest calves 

unable to outlast Mozart's legacy 

or Pater's gemlike flame abandoned dream 

erased by edicts of the blood the song 

the space with both feet off the ground 

if only for a moment
poem
whistles past hacked-down fields of corn, 
heading towards a boy who whittles 
an effigy of himself. We go on sleeping 
through sirens and crimson strobes 
flashing on remains no one can identify 
till we line up at dawn to see who's 
missing. At the zoo this morning, a girl 
found half-devoured in a moat, two
poem
Hard to imagine getting
anywhere near another semi-
nude encounter down this concrete
slab of interstate, the two of us
all thumbs—

white-throated swifts mating mid-flight
instead of buckets of
crispy wings thrown down
hoi polloi—
an army of mouths

eager to feed
left without any lasting sustenance.
Best get