From Persephone

I know the best mornings are made of

pancake batter, warm skin, loose stockings,

how to count tree rings,

the precise moment to

bite into a persimmon—

how to catch them

before they splatter onto the ground.

The red in my bottom lip is proof

I shouldn’t have, but

I swallowed the pomegranate seed


When I came home for the holidays,

I didn’t tell my mother a tree started

growing inside me       without her

my roots have sunken

into things darker than soil

deeper than earth, and

I’ve started to hunger for

things other than harvest.


But in postcards to her

from places like empty apartments

and the edges of the ocean,

I write:

“Doing fine. Miss you.” in the language of the dead.


I never pick the prettiest flower anymore,

pluck it right out of the ground.

That is something girls do—

girls who do not know

how easy it is

for the ground to break open,

how fathers will stand by

in old college sweatshirts and watch.

The difference between

sinking and drowning

is the acceptance of fate.


I dip myself in the river

to forget.


All the hours are violet here.


Carleen Liu is a junior in Berkeley College.

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