I know the best mornings are made of
pancake batter, warm skin, loose stockings,
how to count tree rings,
the precise moment to
bite into a persimmon—
how to catch them
before they splatter onto the ground.
The red in my bottom lip is proof
I shouldn’t have, but
I swallowed the pomegranate seed
When I came home for the holidays,
I didn’t tell my mother a tree started
growing inside me without her
my roots have sunken
into things darker than soil
deeper than earth, and
I’ve started to hunger for
things other than harvest.
But in postcards to her
from places like empty apartments
and the edges of the ocean,
“Doing fine. Miss you.” in the language of the dead.
I never pick the prettiest flower anymore,
pluck it right out of the ground.
That is something girls do—
girls who do not know
how easy it is
for the ground to break open,
how fathers will stand by
in old college sweatshirts and watch.
The difference between
sinking and drowning
is the acceptance of fate.
I dip myself in the river
All the hours are violet here.
Carleen Liu is a junior in Berkeley College.