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Two Poems

On Our Date I Forget the “Birds of Prey” Exhibit is Closed Sunday

Grace is just life
caught in the throat. Imprinted
and broken winged.
Crow hit by my Toyota, muddy.
Peace and rehab three-syllable words

when slurred. Grace of certainty
in the sun’s smallness—small enough

to set behind your hand,
yet still lift like a hand
on her waist while facing a dark nerve.


Her to touch, a crow
not very much a crow, wingless
who must hop from branch to branch

as crippled form of grace,
as chapel wind is pious, bows
in gospel like fletching
post-launch, inalterable flight.
Who dares claim the feathers
of such a fucked-up bird for



Rhetorical questions claim
power from the empty, ellipses
lit like street lamps, spacing
regular pools through dark.
Anyways you forgot
your walking boots. Leave
like the cut that gliding scissors
pass. You came into this life
like chains deliver the flightless.
Like silence delivers a stillborn grace.



The wanting child breaks a bowl
before he loses his first tooth. Research says


we regress before moving forward


the way white tides marshal themselves

before they break. A circle


opens into a spiral and the trauma


opens into an echo. But I don’t wanna

echo. But despite the begging


watch the hitting segue into bars


and showers full of right heat. The way

washing becomes a sloughing


or a person becomes a lesson.




Byron Xu

Byron Xu is an Chinese-American writer at the University of Texas at Austin. His works are published or forthcoming in The Hunger, Lammergeier, Apricity Magazine, Indicia, Scud, and elsewhere.