By: Timothy Liu


How long will the bed that we made together

hold us there? Your stubbled cheeks grazed my skin

from evening to dawn, a cloud of scattered

particles now, islands of shaving foam

slowly spiraling down the drain, blood drops

stippling the water pink as I kiss

the back of your neck, our faces framed inside

a medicine cabinet mirror. The blade

of your hand carves a portal out of steam,

the two of us like boys behind frosted glass

who wave goodbye while a car shoves off

into winter. All that went unnoticed

till now — empty cups of coffee stacked up

in the sink, the neighborhood kids

up to their necks in mounds of autumn leaves.

How months on a kitchen calendar drop

like frozen flies, the flu season at its peak

followed by a train of magic-markered

xxx’s — nights we’d spend apart. Death must work

that way, a string of long distance calls

that only gets through to the sound of your voice

on our machine, my heart’s mute confession

screened out. How long before we turn away

from flowers altogether, your blind hand

reaching past our bedridden shoulders

to hit that digital alarm at delayed

intervals — till you shut it off completely.


About the Author:

(Excerpt is taken from;


The son of Chinese immigrants, poet Timothy Liu was born in San Jose, California. He earned a BA at Brigham Young University and an MA at the University of Houston. He spent two years as a missionary in Hong Kong, though he no longer practices Mormonism. Liu counts as early mentors Welsh poet Leslie Norris, poet Richard Howard, and writer Gordon Lish.

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