Your longed-for true form




I watched the ceiling from my low bed. It bent when the girls danced upstairs.

I looked out that window for a year, saw the water low under the bridge.

I stayed as still as I could under the bedspread.

The shower below the stairwell, as if a foot could, through the ceiling.

I washed the dishes in the round basin sink and found it beautiful, an inverted bridge.

Bent myself into a dance, watched the water.

My plywood desk splintered and sagged.

Threw up blueberries on the tile one day; I worried the heater would light the curtains on fire.

I guess it was spring then, but who can ever tell but if the river is rising?

I heard laughter out of my mouth.

The light was so bright in the mornings that the tulips opened into small, petaled basins.

Yes, I watched the moon, stilling to its height.

My face round after the night, and I tried the trick with spoons, as if cold water could.



Emily Luan. Picture by Ananda Lima

Emily Lee Luan is a Taiwanese American poet and essayist. A 2020 Margins Fellow at the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Best New Poets (2019), The Rumpus, Washington Square Review, The Offing, and elsewhere. 



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“Your longed-for true form” appeared in TLR: Contents May Shift (Summer, 2020)