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Two Poems by Daisuke Shen

once there was a book where a man
raised the dead. / his followers ate the body.

Poetry | Poetry Tuesday
December 6, 2021

funeral parade of roses

a hand shoots forward,
presses against my mouth.

i test the mangoes’ ripeness
with my thumb. watch the bruises spread.

the years after my father died,
my mother smoked slim cigarettes.

how bloated both our minds became:
the rupture and the split.

once there was a book where a man
raised the dead. his followers ate the body.

the setting sun made honeycombs
cutting through the vineyard leaves.

it was anna’s birthday party. her family owned
the vineyard. owned expensive things.

I didn’t enjoy this game called hide & seek:
one could get lost and never found. 

how horrible it is to be a secret. would much
rather lose if that meant being seen.

every man i’ve loved since the first
wants more than he gives. 

don’t pity me. i’ve asked for it.
became both wound and executioner.

main problem: tragedy of the womb.
the way i came forward, full head of hair.

somewhere, someone in love sees the other and smiles.


Q: What is the closest approximation to love? Shared terror
or swallowed whole. A: To be desired is to know terror.

Once a boy gripped my neck in a bathroom stall. Whiskey
glass dazzle-smatter. My body taking the shapeform of terror.

What I mean to say: sometimes my body is an atopy.
Do you understand? Safe outside myself—shorn terror.

Sam died and Carl died. My mother pink-robed, a
silhouette chain-smoking on the porch: contained terror.

I can only mourn what is known to me—whole futures,
books borrowed, you, gone to war: grief, not terror.

In the grocery store we frequented, my soul chatters
warning. My own angel with a gun—remember terror?

The sun claws at me in the parking lot. All I wanted 
was for someone to catch my drift. You, too, know terror?

Pull down your pants, Daisuke, give the boys what
they want. I’ve got to go. I’m sorry, it’s just, my terror,