On Borders


I carry a piece of chalk around,
gift ribs to empty sidewalks. I draw
my lines with ease.


Under a eucalyptus tree,
I stretch my fingers, just beyond
the boundary of shade, venture
under the light’s fair blade.
I marvel at how a body can inhabit
worlds at a time.


I ask a map why does an oasis
stops extending its waters
where it does. And it asks
what did I do when I met a weary eye
clasping a feral dawn, teeming
with a thousand evenings.


I overhear a man talk about this country
as if it were a walnut splitting under
the pressure of desire. I recognize
the crack threading the husk—a hole
forfeiting its seed to a chamber
full of teeth. I walk over and say
a country is not a walnut. He says it is
his walnut, and bites down.

Born in South Korea, raised in Peru, Ae Hee Lee now lives in the United States. She is the author of the poetry chapbooks: Dear bear, (Platypus Press, 2021) and Bedtime || Riverbed (Compound Press, 2017). Most recently, her work Connotary was selected as the winner for the 2021 Frost Place Chapbook Competition by Tiana Clark. She holds an MFA from the University of Notre Dame, where she was awarded an Academy of American Poets Prize, and currently is a PhD candidate in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her poetry has been published or is forthcoming at The Georgia Review, New England Review, Narrative, and Poetry Magazine, among others.