They chew on flowers to bring color
back to their faces. Inside the rows of
bougainvillea they eat the purple and the
ochre that climb up the walls, and I want
to say I too know the solitude that divides
blood into bright cell and plasma
that leaves a fluid pale as the eye of a partridge.
I too know no cure for it except to keep eating.

At dawn sunlight stains the city the blush
of onion-skin and the muezzin’s voice
rings out over the rooftops. He is the foghorn
that pierces the heart before morning,
rising from the ocean’s octaves to burn off
the clouds, and yet it terrifies me, to think
early some day you will wake up to see me

standing by the balcony as if I and my legs
and my robe were part of the railing,
you will put your arms around me and ask
why I stand there and I will have no answer.
You do not stir, but I know you have seen
men tumble out of the sky, and with
every ululation your body trembles in sleep.
Though we lie next to each other we are
in different countries, one with water,
one without.

From Mine by Tung-Hui Hu. Copyright © 2007 by Tung-Hui Hu. Reprinted with permission of Ausable Press.