Monday Apr 22

photo Lo Kwa Mei-en is the author of Yearling, forthcoming from Alice James Books. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Black Warrior Review, Boston Review, Crazyhorse, Gulf Coast, The Kenyon Review, West Branch, and other journals. She lives and works in Ohio.


How to Make Love to the Camera Obscura

The house aches. The house is holding on with a thing like restraint.
            How can you come any closer with a mouth like that, like a red room

turned upside down? The house hurts to see you so. Even flown up
            at the ceiling, the sheet stays taut on the bed and the bed is comforted

by all the right angles. Half-light, then no light at all, how could you
            think I would not watch? Flipped, the loveseat fucks off at gravity like

a sail made of stone. An animal with a sword for a face, I saw you all
            slicked back and true in my heart’s black eye. It was a door that never

shut and so was I, were you. You were what a wing cut out of the air
            when beating up in a shut box made out of brick and the house breaks

when you come around. Enough to let in a look, love it large, blow
            and throw it up against the living room wall. The house is a rolling

eye, planetary wide in the wide night, and we will never blink again,
            less a body be a gospel with an end, centerfold at the speed of light,

no. Keep the glossed finish, and I’ll keep my rewound hurt reeling.
            This was when all my portraits were breath held, shots of a pitching

dark room, and one thing crossing it. And this, how no room wild
            as a sparrow lost and darting could help but zero to the pinhole, eye

-ful of modest light, lifted, or else a slice of what waits on the other
            side. Creature in vertigo, forever wrong-side up, I could not help my

self but begin. The house is a small death, feathered. Something like
            restraint with a shudder. Little to see of the battle of our bodies but

that shoulder, drawn like an angry arrow, bared in the strange dark.
            The house, shot through its heart. The room fell up into my arms.

How to Make Love to the Museum

Now that the light has been for so long waning—& now, unlit,
            I’m eerie. As unlucky a day as any to close for the curious &
nervous pealing open of glass boxes—as many as can bear to

be found, be broken. A hand reaches down inside a gold some
-thing ancient to touch it. As for the peeling of time, I’ll rack
            up the taboo crease of its sleeves, uncuff its grief and throw it

down at the foot of the curving stair, throw it like the heart’s
            garbage, since we could never need a thing that salvages need
by keeping us afar with the polished sheet of a glance, oh my

patron, exploring fiend, negative star of blacked out after loss
-light. Come erase me to save me. Under an atrium, in the art
            -lover’s cave, backed into a closet of bones that shed a bright

chemical feather over marrow to hide or a hide of prehistoric
            leather. The heart of me a limb to hold down now, where for
once, the total of what you don’t know won’t hurt me. Once

too shy to say it, but I know what you like: to extinguish one
body & turn the light on, train it like a station, a crossroad eye,
            a proper name for what I do to you between echoes of extinct

whatever, one fossilized moan shuttering up the spine of you.
            Forget the true cost of admission, lover—I’ve got you covered
until the dawn of time, loyal like a dangered wing embracing

a donor wing with your name on it. Everything inside me died
once for your pleasure & by love I would slay it again, by wild
            lamplight, floored before you, extinct in a look that could kill—

Romance in Which the Lion Degrades

I lie down in the armory of dead grasses and play rough
           All my life I trained to ignore a lion’s sound just enough

to see the dark by I shoot true and shoot myself crying
            relief and belief in the barracks Wreck is rest I’m lying

down for days in the mouth of a king I must diminish
            the lion I’ll cut off its tail Can’t I love what I demolish

Fair’s fair We rub shot earth in the shot ink of his good
            eye A solar flare in a cage can’t touch a neighborhood
So get cagey sans comfort Little king Littler crown
            slant over an eye like honey caught fire coming down

Like a sun caged Like new earth claimed You can’t deny
            Fair’s fair Fight fire with firepower that asks no reply

How does one see the lion best In the no window low
            light room of my heart lies a revolver It slow grows

tawny on the floor Does my finger on a trigger get you
            off with the safety off Every shadow is coming true

and cocks a head back My weapon fed off scrap, it’s true
            But what sleeps in my chamber can see better than you

King of something King of no one King of nowhere
            How does one let the lion down kind Hello there

kitten Heard you could make love like we make war
            Kingdoms shudder at the glass Outlast that, rock star

What wrote you a legend rides you coward and clown
            Lay down in the trench of silent grasses Lay down

By fall I followed I lay right down I took up arms
            in arms of men All my life I trained by the charms

like a ghost of the lion How did you kill the lion
            Every day With haunt Did you see the stilled lion

lit by light of man In an all wall wild heart you do
            what you do How does one right the lion Do you

My lion If I did give you my fortune the flesh gift
            Would cost all This song so black my love will rift

red paths out the armory that rocks me Will infect
            the city that kinged you Will king you Will defect

Will put down my arms of men Love will lie down
            in the mouth of a king cut down Will not lie down