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For C., Before A Party
After Frank O’Hara
Our makeshift infinity: 4 pm loitering
at Lion Market, elbows on the lunch table.
We are sixteen & always chasing another shore.
Tumbling over the curb, an impatient tide of cars
just behind us. Safe on the sidewalk, how
you laced your ink-kissed fingers in mine, the easiest
kind of love. I’m almost brave enough for
dedications when we’re perched like doves
on the fake green bench, a washed-out latte
in each hand & bad poetry—theirs,
mine—rotting through my laptop screen.
We are sixteen & always laughing. I never believed
there were words to suture my fragmentation. You
needle artwork out of sharp edges, inanimate things.
I’m thinking of the time you strung two
green olives on a toothpick arrow,
called yourself Cupid. Or last year’s whirlwind
wrecked with rain, how the sky hollows itself
to touch the dappled fields. What violence must I know
to know you. I’m dreaming up a universe kinder
to us, where we can sit with all our unsaid truths.
Run away to New York together. Or Safeway.
Iris Cai is a junior from the SF Bay Area. Her poetry has been recognized by the Poetry Society of America, Gannon University, and the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, and is published in or forthcoming from On the Seawall, Neologism Poetry Journal, Eunoia Review, and elsewhere. An alumna of the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio, she also serves as co-founder and Editor-In-Chief of Eucalyptus Lit. Aside from writing, Iris can be found playing piano, taking pictures of her cat, or perfecting her milk tea recipe.
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