I was tangerine inside the mosque.

 

 

Lit up inside, of several generations. 

By being tangerine, I was also olive beneath my skirts,

made of bamboo inside the bones and

frayed cheesecloth at the fingertips.

By being a girl and not a color and made up of pencils,

curly fries and shot by a man on horseback somewhere.

By being joined together at the hips with starlight or jackfruit,

now bowed at the knees inside an ocean’s spray.

Lacking a lisp in consonants.

The pith of a fig, inside a honeydew.

Keeping time inside the mouth, counting sugar grains,

arriving at the ph of a jackal’s tear.

Neither color nor thing, a slice of jade.

The color of before a tree.

Tucked into a catacomb, tied together with poison ivy or twine.

The skin peels without sunlight or shade.

I bleed silk curtains and cinnamon sticks,

words being both perfume and

antipathy, built to last.

 

*

 

Out of a fish called

 

 

inside the day a boat collapsed

made of dry sand and rushes

the sky broke

into one thousand self portraits

and disappeared like a wound in the smallest

hint of wind

 

from inside the fish’s eye

rows of corn were black not white

a ball bounced and echoed itself just the way

a hundred tumblers fell against a hundred keys

and even the alphabet was stunned

 

when I laughed and I did it right out of my belly

a canoe tipped

and let the salt out of the sea

the sun ran to attend, the frogs leapt out of their beds

but I couldn’t help it

and I couldn’t stop

 

 

**

 


Sueyeun Juliette Lee currently resides in Northampton, Massachusetts. She edits Corollary Press, which she launched in 2005. Her work has most recently appeared in Coconut, 26, and is forthcoming in Chain.

 

 

 

 

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