At last, the rain washes night’s script
off the mind’s pages. There is no use
holding out your palms—
into morning, into the leaf-stippling
mist—asking, over & over, for more
proof of permanence.
Like any other day, I rise, shiny with
belief, to ease the kettle into its usual
ritual of heat & wait for dawn
to sift through the purling steam, while
in another room, my love slumbers
sparingly. Fever has licked
his brows heavy with dew, turned his
exhaustion into a map of salt on skin
that will gleam in the indifferent
sun. From here, in the amniotic light
of the kitchen, in the unearned safety
of this silence, I can almost see
the shape of the end: the shorelines
smeared by the sea, no wind to console
the wave-toppled monuments
as our bones whiten under the glaring
sky into archipelagos of bleached coral,
chiseled by time into an empire
of grit & silt. When the last hour comes,
lay me down beside his body the way
the current deposits the sand.
For now, praise the hydrangeas with their rain
-smudged faces in the window boxes.
Praise the length of his simple spine
still refusing the gift of ruin.
Gavin Yuan Gao is a Brisbane-based poet and translator. His writing has been highly commended in the 2018 SLQ Young Writers Award and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in New England Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Cincinnati Review, The Journal, Hobart, Winter Tangerine and elsewhere.