Archive, Poems

KAREN AN-HWEI LEE Diophantine Love

When something is taken,
something is returned, though
not always in the same form,

scarlet or not, shelter or none,
centriole and silk filament,
this is a love for basic things:

will of blueness arrayed in
drawn fold of wise skirt
or a coral reef walk to the sea

wearing a wide summer hat
in phrase shared by axioms
or prolix love and monies

for all natural numbers x, y, z
a basis for binding flesh
in a diophantine

equation x4 + y4 = z2.
Translation, I love you
to the fourth power

on two coordinate axis
with a master variable,
silver zeppelin.



Karen An-hwei Lee is the author of Phyla of Joy (Tupelo 2012), Ardor (Tupelo 2008) and In Medias Res (Sarabande 2004), winner of the Norma Farber First Book Award. She authored a novel, Sonata in K (Ellipsis 2017). Her book of literary criticism, Anglophone Literatures in the Asian Diaspora: Literary Transnationalism and Translingual Migrations (Cambria 2013), was selected for the Cambria Sinophone World Series. Lee’s work appears in literary journals such as The American Poet, Poetry Magazine, Kenyon Review, Gulf Coast, IMAGE: Art, Faith, Mystery, Journal of Feminist Studies & Religion, Iowa Review, and Columbia Poetry Review and was recognized by the Prairie Schooner/Glenna Luschei Award. She earned an M.F.A. from Brown University and Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Berkeley. The recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Grant, Lee is a voting member of the National Book Critics Circle. Currently, she lives in San Diego and serves in the university administration at Point Loma Nazarene University.