how do you tell someone you've written a poem about them?

poetry by Natalie Lim

how do you tell someone you’ve written a poem about them?

don’t. / seriously, don’t. / Zuri says what if they find out later, but they won’t, so it’s fine. /
what if every poem is about you? / a thought: I should not treat poems like subtweets. / not, like,

every poem, but the white space, the caesura, the way my wanting breathes through just so – you

taught me that. warm exhale and gentle hands, turning the page without creasing it, stars blurry

with laughter and cheap wine. / okay, so every poem. / wondering if I could still love you was

a mistake I can’t take back. think: six shots on an empty stomach and leaving the door open

behind you. / what if I split this yearning open and held it to the light? I doubt either of us would

survive that kind of truth. / that breath right there, the seventh shot, all this love, all this love,

do you see it now? your silhouette, black hole and sweet smell and line break after the metaphor.

 

think: room to breathe. or finally breathing.

 

think: a letter with no address, because every word is your name.

six months and counting

poetry by Natalie Lim

six months and counting

after Isabella Wang

i.

my dog is a licker.

once she sees you

she is all metronome tail fish-body wiggle 

tongue flicking in-out-in-out

kissing any part of you she can reach 

feet    ankles    arms    face 

                    (ears especially)

 

ii.

they say there are still good people in this world.

I wonder if I am one of them, 

balled-fist hands echo-chamber brain

heart brimming over with want and want and want.

grief knocks again, old injustice wearing young new face,

and I move quickly —  

put out the fireplace, 

hide the silverware, the pens,

double-check the deadbolts.

my kettle collects dust.

aches to be filled with more than emptiness.

 

iii.

I kneel down and ask, were you

good today? yes! yes yes yes yes

yes, teach me to be good like that, 

always reaching upward,

loving people, yes, in every small way they allow, 

trying to make this world, yes, a little gentler,

however I can.

 

Mister Rogers once cried with a stranger

in an elevator, I read that somewhere.

outside, the ground is softening.

Luna digs holes, paws blurry with glee,

head cocked proudly at her creations:

look what I made!

look at all this room for growing! 

 

we walk without jackets. 

it is almost spring.

Natalie Lim is a Chinese-Canadian writer based in Vancouver, B.C, currently completing her degree in communications at Simon Fraser University. She was the winner of the 2018 CBC Poetry Prize for "Arrhythmia," her first published work. More than anything, she loves stories —  whether told through a book, podcast, or video game — and she hopes to keep writing them for the rest of her life.

Natalie Lim

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