This Is Siren Country

by Lo Kwa Mei-en


Once you were as empty as a wind-filled sail,
but you’ll never fall asleep again. You are welcome.

All summer, the sun is bolted to a red wheel. It breaks
through a cloud’s belly, radiant, surgical, salt

nets spreading on every man’s shoulder. It is so good
everybody lies down. Nobody rests. All say Hail

to roots of my flesh, this weather to die for. Come and go
in the bedrooms like water, the old sleeplessness of

a body’s red sky—signal after signal plays off skin,
rounds the corner of a knee, all pupils lit from behind

as a morning. Soon we set a calendar of bacchanals.
We set a pace we cannot follow and we follow once

again starved. Again a sigil that starts in the marrow.
Again a nameless daughter, sampling the black stripe

on a roasted heart, velvet and severe. Again speech.
Hail to every body, swollen as a sail, tied in knots.

And hail to the mother and father you never knew
we had. To you, no generation walked on water

before us, but we sing down the family tree and cast
original seed. We are armada. We are cannon. You

are in a land of mythic heart, where want comes
to pass as real. Believe it like a christ, a cross—

This is called a harbor. This is a safe
that won’t sink with your secret into a wet bed.

The past cannot touch you. O hail your harvest gaze.
Love the great butcher kept us flesh as hell, diving

for dark terrain, but who can swim with open arms?
It is good to be unafraid of death, we say, crawling

high through a hot wave of weeds. Come, we swear
you will rise in fields again, ears raw, burst with grain.


Read Lo Kwa Mei-en’s Self-portrait with a Teak Fleet of Sailing Ships

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