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Christina Lau Mar 2016
It’s Valentine’s Day.
Daddy makes coffee in two cups heart-shaped cups.
Mommy is in bed, sleeping in.
Daddy waits for Mom to wake up- she doesn’t
but she’s still breathing.
Daddy sighs and goes to work.
Mommy shakes my sister and me awake
and pulls us into boots and coats and gloves.
We tiptoe over shards of glass on the way out.

Mommy drives too fast.
She makes me watch when the light is green for go
at long intersections because she keeps getting something in her eye.
We get to the airport.
Mommy dashes inside like a guilty person in a movie
but I know she’s innocent because she’s my mom.
I sit and watch planes disappear into bundles of clouds that look like white cotton-candy
and planes land pulling their wheels into their chest with a fast whoosh.

Mommy comes back empty-handed.
One long sigh passes her lips
before she starts the car.
My sister asks where are we going.
Mommy only gets a short sound out but I know she means home.
“Good,” my sister says. “I’m tired.”
“Me too,” Mommy replies.
Christina Lau Feb 2016
i felt it tying weights
to everything that used to matter,
everything that brought me joy.

i looked in the mirror and smiled,
telling myself i was fine.
i looked in the mirror and smiled
at two rows of black soot,
crawling with greedy bugs,
that I used to call pearly-whites.

i felt my nerves and bones and muscles and ligaments
snap apart and wrap themselves
into each other and it hurt so much.

i thought it would never get to me.
i thought one day i would wake up and be okay,
but i never learned how to stop lusting
after dreams not made for me.
Christina Lau Feb 2016
the sky was stained purple and green- ghastly hues-
leaving me with a very unclean feeling
unfurling on my palms.
I wanted to wash it away-
the colors were becoming one now
(the kind of mysterious brown mothers pulled their children from peering at on mown lawns)-
and have a canvas pure as the first hour snow falls over weary towns.

it was harder than I thought it would be.
it involved scrubbing away the lights when aiming for the darks;
too much muddled together to pull apart the best, beautiful parts,
too much of a mess I should’ve noticed earlier when
I picked up my paintbrush and decided to spread my existence
out and out and out-
too much to pull back now, anyways.
too much but I don’t regret
for I pulled out my soul
and spun my paintbrush around in it collecting
deep pigmented blood stains and tear drops and soft hugs.

only then did I begin to understand
my twisted self- when
brush touched world.
Christina Lau Feb 2016
there’s something addicting about hot showers.
worse than nicotine
there is no surgeon general warning
or a legal age to enjoy a steamy waterfall.
be cautious in your endeavors,
because just like a pack of cigarettes,
they offer guise in smoke.
they can drown you
in your own sadness
or you can throw out your lighter.
Christina Lau Dec 2015
I wonder, when John Hancock
signed the Declaration,
if he could feel time pulling apart
then back together,
taking the shape
of his America.

I wonder, when Lincoln
felt the cold bullet
enter the curls of his hair,
if he had enjoyed the play.

I wonder, when ****’s
burned ownerless toys
and 80-year marriage rings,
if they were shaken
by the screams of thousands.

I wonder, when the sailor
kissed that nurse
when the war had been won,
if he thought about bombs
or her soft lips.
still thinking about a title and adding extra parts
Christina Lau Dec 2015
Someone’s world jumped
onto a cold set of tracks
at Jamaica station
early last week.

Someone’s world jumped
into the universe next door,
leaving us all for
being too human.

At the time,
I was trapped at Penn Station.
A pain spread
about my stomach
like a pen pressed against
a sheet of looseleaf.

MTA officials made announcements,
calling it a mechanical malfunction.

9 to 5 businessmen in
deep black suits with bluetooth headsets
groaned and bargained
for passage home,
ready to ride
through a stranger's graveyard.

Little kids ran through shops,
fingers sticky with frozen yogurt
and popcorn- surprise treats
used as pacifiers.

I sat in a well known coffee shop
pondering life and death.

The word suicide didn’t hurt
like it used to, but I felt
connected to this stranger.

I thought about
that person’s lover,
that person’s sister,
that person’s mother,
that person’s friend.

I thought about how
all of their galaxies stirred and switched gears.
A planet of theirs- tremendous or trifling in their own imagination-
collapsed and changed the course of everything.
I wondered if their galaxy halted and
each star and planet mourned or
if their galaxy smoothed over the craters
and dodged all the meteors and
didn’t even blink.

My galaxy shifted and
clouds laid thick.
Stars dimmed their lights in harmony.

A few years ago
or even a few months ago,
I would’ve cried
and thought
about following this
stranger to train station heaven.

But now,
I thought about
my sister’s galaxy,
my mother’s galaxy,
my best friend’s galaxy.

I felt sadness
but I also felt love.
an old poem re-written
Christina Lau Dec 2015
at the age of
and flowers,
I only knew
endless sunrises.

at the age of
finally comprehending,
first crushes,
empty playgrounds,
and responsibility,
I learned that there
was more to just being
right and wrong.

at the age of
and fear,
I learned what
was worth waking up for.
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