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Emma Liang May 2014
and the weather is perfect outside where skin would be just enough.
i want to romp the world with you, naked as the day we were born,
feeling like with you it really is the first day of my life.
we will roll in the grass, and of course you are allergic to everything in nature
don’t worry, darling.
i will soothe your burning, blistering skin with butterfly kisses.
we will skinny dip, even though neither of us are particularly skinny
(we have your favorite chinese mexican takeout place to thank for that)
and i will slap your **** in the semi-darkness, giggling.
watching the sun go down, I will forget what anything feels like on my skin
other than your breath and hands
Emma Liang Jan 2014
you make my tongue want to do cartwheels in a mouth
who's already taken such a beating from your teeth, it’s almost unfair
(so cruel, so kind, to bruised lips)
(would you save a little loving for hungry hips)
that tongue can be so uptight, sometimes.
the only thing that can loosen her is liquor, love -
(sweet, sharp, a little too much - who does that remind you of?)
spills from a clumsy heart -
i imagine it soothing the flames of burning bridges
and leaving them to rest in ash.
Let the ghosts roam where they may -
leave it be, my lion
you have me
and my
Emma Liang May 2013
you said you only felt alive that time you almost fell off the Eiffel Tower.
some days I wished you did just so the suspended image in my head would fit –
eyes wide, lips parted, fingers splayed, every part of you split open head to toe,
spilling secrets into grey Paris wind,
settling like ***** snow on rooftops where I
play guitar and sing and pretend
that somewhere we are fingerpainting naked
and learning how to surf on beaches in Santa Dominica,
climbing trees and ripping jeans and loving
Emma Liang Mar 2013
this is a poem about love,

             not boys, for once, or lesbians –
                           but roomie love.

my roommate is my other half,
like when we were little and chewed halves of gummy bears to make two-flavored ones with different colored heads and feet.

3:30 am on a Monday night,
all of our classes the next day, no homework done –
who else will stay up with me to read over each other’s oldest emails,
all disgustingly useless,
all marked as “sent with high importance”

who else will write poetry with me in the looming shadow of Chemistry tests
help keep the Spring terms exams and US History APs at bay
with jokes that aren’t funny but I laugh at anyways
because you are stupid and you think they are –

and everybody in the dorm thinks
we are insane, but that’s okay with me because we have

enough inside jokes to live on for a year
                    each other
Emma Liang Mar 2013
blowing bubbles through a straw
                            into my chocolate milk, satisfying pops

and suddenly I am homesick, I miss
my mother telling me to

Emma Liang Mar 2012
I bounce a volleyball as I walk to my dorm
just to hear that delightful sound, that satisfying, clean thud off the cement.

look up, see you in that grey hoodie that gives me bad dreams
and curse under my breath, eyes darting like a cornered fox,
            there is nowhere to hide.
we almost exchange eye contact, I almost taste blood in my mouth
            I hate how familiar you are.
you look down, cough;
I murmur a dusty hello-goodbye into the ground, hold my volleyball tighter
against my chest –
and hurry on, court sneakers straining on the pavement, trying too hard to forget your cracked smiles.


I remember how we used to pass for hours
no sound but the volleyball slapping against our forearms,
brushing off our fingertips,
echoing through that Choate gymnasium, that cold spring;

My head had barely reached the middle of the net,
but you were tall and brave and handsome, my Prince Charming, and
I was a freshman girl with her heart on her sleeve, who
hugged a warm volleyball to her heart and smiled,

thinking herself lucky.


Spring thawed your heart, eventually,
and you let me hold your hand;
you had long fingers, cold to the touch.
you taught me how to set, complimented my hands,
trained me to cradle the ball with my thumbs like it was made of glass,
your hands around mine.

I was braver than you were,
because everything felt fresh and exciting to me, like the
smell of crushed pine needles in the air;
you kissed me (I kissed you?) on that night
and I leaned forward, curious and eager, and wrapped my arms
around your neck.


The days melted into one another,
and we became
like chalk drawings blurring after rain,
like floor burns from sliding to save a falling ball –
but missing it, all the effort gone to waste;
the burns will still burn and still scar, for nothing.

May to June, June to July,
I hugged you and laughed, but my eyes
were cold; you said I love you
And I tried to say it back, but I couldn’t without
sticking a used to before the love –
            the honey words stuck in my throat.

Our kisses were routine, stale
like the crackers I left out the night before;
I tapped my foot and
tossed the volleyball quickly behind my back with nimble fingers
and counted the seconds before it was acceptable to pull back;
I had homework and volleyball practice and quizzes to study for, you know – I tried to smile but
it felt so wrong, I stopped –
you asked what was wrong, I shook my head, there are no answers for some questions.


It’s been four years since we’ve spoken,
shared secret moments under solemn oak trees, behind library bookshelves
that promised to keep us away from prying eyes,
smiled into each other’s lips,
blinked stories into each other’s eyes.
It’s been four years since people have teased you for not
hitting the ball when we passed – you gentleman, you –

I will not say I miss you, because I refuse to lie for your sake;
but sometimes as I set a ball perfectly to a hitter
I think of you for a split second, wonder where you are and if you remember as much
as I do, which is, honestly
not very much.


she writes letters to him and then burns them all, the smell of smoke fills the room.
It’s as if she is stealing the fury of the sun, which is cooling down, melting into lava at the horizon –
it will be another cold winter, there is already frost in the grass, the air smells chilly.

Dear you,

I broke up with you as nicely as I could –
there was no reason I fell out of love, the same way
there is no reason people fall in love.

you have no right ******* me out on the internet the way you did.
Every time I hit a volleyball I imagine your face on my palm, and I hit harder.
I will never forgive you for the things you wrote,
and I don’t know if I ever loved you at all,
because you are despicable.

the girl of your dreams.


it’s the beginning of the end of July, everything is so hot.
the pavement is baking, the volleyballs are flat,
her arms feel weak and limp like overcooked noodles.

it’s hard to think straight. She can hardly remember
her own name before remembering that she has a boyfriend.
He calls, he says I love you and she tries to choke out that well-rehearsed lie –
what was it again? something like I love you too?

But it’s too hot, and she
can’t do it anymore –

she swallows hard and grips her volleyball tighter,
her hands sweating against the weathered sphere that has been through so much with her
as she prepares to say goodbye.
Emma Liang Mar 2012
October air is cold in my throat,
and it smells like clean laundry, Momma’s apron, pinecones, summer rain
I make wishes on falling leaves on the way home from school, and
never step on the red ones [they were princesses in other lives]
                  Let dinner be good.
                  Let Momma have had a good day at work.
                  Let me have a big brother.
                  Let there be peanut-butter banana crackers on the table.
I kick acorns into a pile at the front door for the squirrels and deer and rabbits;
pull at the straps on my backpack because the driveway feels safe under my sneakers, and
kick a pile of leaves up
                                                             ­    up
           ­                                                      up
                                                         ­        into the pumpkin-picking-blue autumn sky,

let them scatter and fall in my hair;
The leaves are my crown, and I am Queen of red-orange-yellow.
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