Amy Gong Liu

I decided that

it was finally safe

to rewind the tape.

It was a church

solo that I practiced

for all week

back in 2007.

I wore some

old thing to sing

about poverty

while strings of blood

ran down the side

of the walls and pews.

It smelled like

applause and

a premature lunch;

some auntie had made

something in tin

that gave me my gag reflex

and my inability

to name.

I can’t tell if the sound

of the applause

in the video comes

from the hands strategically

placed outside

of the frames

or if they are sounds

that I have clipped

into the years

after the fact.

You see:

I didn’t know

what pity was.

I still went to

school to think

about something

bigger than myself.

I believed in auras.

It was the sort

of time in a life

where, as a child,

I could tell my mother

that I loved her

as simply as I could

joint my elbows,

draw my own knobs,

and hear the sound,

knowing only

the things that

were clear.

Amy Gong Liu is based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her work has been published in Poetry Northwest, The Rumpus, RHINO Poetry, The Rupture, and more. She thinks too much (or perhaps too little).

© Variant Literature Inc 2021