by Rebecca Liu

Nothing is bigger than the tip of an autumn
          hair. Mt. Vesuvius is small.

No one lives longer than the unadorned child
          and the sages died young, each poplin

effigy like so many unlined pits
          on the windowsill. The effect of time

like watching the reverse of a world subsuming
          constant shadows, while it acquires a taste

like the lacquered radiance
                                       of a bruised pomelo.

I had been a yellow-bellied
            dreamer now, in the vulture’s

white night when the stale hunger pushes
          like the fizzle of clockwork.

Anything is a world of its own, and its geography

          etched in my palm. It was a wrongful wooing,

ruinous as a myth revealing the cartographer’s
          arsenal: a cloying mess

of illegible maps of finch’s nests and the wide
          rivers that criss-cross your body

          like a continent. I have always had a propensity
for exaggeration, like so many finches, dividing.