GHAZAL FOR NEW MOON
When you chased me down back alleyways under the supervision of the moon,
we woke up on peppermint flower beds, after a night of making wishes to the Elysian moon.
I am thinking of the morning we met, when you took your school breakfast
back to your mother, who was seaming your old pants under the improvisation of the moon.
I wanted to tell you that in mid-August after the rain, it’s chrysanthemum-quiet
and we can be alone and envision the moon.
Because this town became more beautiful once I relearned how to ride my bike—
stumbling down the sloped asphalt unaware of the derision of the moon,
I thought that no father really teaches, but holds the back seat and watches us fall.
Or, barely even touching the seat, a father is a ghost loyal only to the imitation moon.
The dress we shared is still dangling at the end of my closet, too small for either
of us now, but withstanding the time like the brutal perpetuation of the moon.
You said one evening how you harbored my stories because I wrote them to myself,
your hair the brown of your father’s heartache and mine the shade of the vermilion moon.
Like lightning, I remaindered our nights into unwashed indigo.
I picked a stamenless lotus, its pink lips starved by the indecision of our moon.
I wanted to, at the sight of the peppermint clinging to your back, bite off
every leaf of it. How stupid I was to ever believe I could be your version of the moon.
—from 2022 Rattle Young Poets Anthology
Why do you like to write poetry?
Sophia Liu: “I write poetry to draw meaning out of the menial, to find beauty within brutality, to cement and cherish my and my family’s history in a country where we have long been regarded as the perpetual foreigner.”