The heart-shaped leaves
run home from the trees. Their mothers
wait for them, never give up on them.
Must all children give up on their mothers
Life is wall-shaped.
Cars smash into it. That’s why
language is crash-shaped.
The letter f faces east like a windblown fir,
and the letter O is an eye looking
up at you like a stone.
But even if you poured the whole sea into it, the bowl
will never become water-shaped.
So all the mother-shaped sentences chasing
the idea of the world through the marble archways
will still just be piece-of-paper-shaped.
Even so, people write such long poems of love by
walking aimlessly through the parks.
There must be some reason.
Out past the page,
something real like a peach branch.
I write to you in blue ink even though
I am not a fountain pen.
Even though I am not a love letter.
The tree-shaped hearts
run out of leaves. A country wind
wails through them, cries out to them.
Must all children give up on their mothers some day?
I remember thinking that no matter how many leaves fall away,
a tree is still a tree.
But when does the tree fall away?
Doesn’t anybody know
the real meanings of things?
I drew a glorious springtime in the margins
of a school exam
the questions blew away.
Now I draw my own face
on a ream of brown mulberry,
but somebody else blows away blows away.
A little fan shouts
from the ceiling, all the way
down to where I live.
I hold an electric fan up to my face,
but my life stays still without moving.
The unbearable cannot be erased. A typhoon rustles
from my dark to yours.
Nothing is as hand-drawn
as where you come from.
I have forgotten what they look like,
the people that I loved.
Shapes on pieces of paper.
Would you say that love is still a leaf
no matter how far away it blows?
Or is everything in the world
something which once drifted away . . .
Hua Xi is a poet and artist. Their poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Guernica, The New Republic and elsewhere. They love blue ink.