Willie Lin


On a clear summer night, their sound travels
for miles. Across the ravine, they shift in slack patterns,
betraying their heft, shouldering their histories.
When did you first recognize their meaning?
Without fail, darkness winnows their slow bleat to song:
the life and inflection of it, the ivory hands of it
on your throat until it is your own voice transposed.
Weren't you happy when fall whipstitched into winter
into spring? Weren't you once defector, escapee?
You'd pressed to the fields and kneaded the earth,
prowler along swollen patches of foxtail and clover,
lined your cheeks with dirt and greens. It was no dream.
You heaved yourself up again, didn't you? As if
this turning were a choice. Silver-tongued creature, kin.

Willie Lin is currently a student at the University of Virginia.

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