BODY OF SHOELACE
The day breaks in a wristwatch
glinting off the eye.
I curve around furniture, the body a buzz
with the hive of the dead I carry—
releases its honey—
Another poet has died today, again
another city without any walls, again.
Dreams of my husband dying, he reports, are killing him.
I keep my hand on his chest all through the night.
Loss passed among us
as an infant born into a cult. I’ve come
too far now to lose when it is my turn.
The first touch to skin in the morning cold, awakening—
is full of pain
like a circle of men, each taking one step inward.
THE LILACS WERE WILD IN THE GRAVEYARD
There was a baby.
A silk handkerchief pulled back to nothing.
Was seaweed soup
my husband had prepared for post-partum.
The doctors telling me I had given birth
to the toilet. Did you see the fetus there in the water?
There were wilted lilacs wrapped in recycled tissue
paper driven out to the canyon for a funeral.
Whispered against the hard wind what we wanted to have
been called mom, appa–– shielding our makeshift
grave from the park rangers on patrol for litter.
There was the drive home, a door closed behind us.
Was beside me, balded cotton stalk piled into a mound of down-
feathers on the side of the road. Was a bloated belly
that could smash to a flat dense with a hand.
At home, the emails still filling up my inbox.
The cat still needing to be fed. Everything
was as I had left it but one—
it rained the morning after.
Whitney Koo is the founder and editor-in-chief of Gasher Press and a Ph.D. candidate in English – Creative Writing at Oklahoma State University. She is the 2018 poetry winner of the Tucson Festival of Books Literary Award. Her work has appeared in journals such as Colorado Review, American Literary Review, Bayou Magazine, Breakwater Review, and others. Originally from Arizona, Whitney currently resides in Lubbock, TX with her husband, Bonhak, and cat, Bunny. find her at www.whitneykoo.com