Poems by Tina Tau
I’VE TRIED LOVE
I’ve tried love, but it creaks and crazes. You know how it is. The harder I try, the more it wobbles. I wake up one day to find that my wing feathers are falling out. A bloody mess in the bed.
Each time my heart is broken I feel like a stone that God has stepped on, on her way to somewhere else. She didn’t even see me there on the path. I forgive her. I have a hard time seeing myself. You know how it is.
If I had the right pot I would cook together starlight and owl-sight. I’d make a potion that will grow feathers. I am always looking for that cauldron.
I won’t get rid of the moths in my hair that are drawn to a light inside me only they can see.
LETTER BACK FROM MOM
Hayden was right. The air is full of poems.
Not like cottonwood seeds, though—you can’t see them,
but you hear them coming,
more like a song—oh, honey, it’s hard to describe
but if you want one you just hold still
and it lands, and sings in your hands.
Oh, I can see this is going to be trickier
than I thought.
Yes, the party, with green silk scarves and
whipped cream and coffee jello, and your beautiful
sisters were there—I know I’m making you cry,
but it’s all right, they are well. They’re happy.
And you’ll see. You’ll see.
You’re wrapped in ribbons of light.
Your girls, we’re watching out for them,
helping Jin Mei get a job and sending
Zhen Zhen happy dreams she does not remember.
It’s so BIG here. I cannot describe that at all.
For one thing, we can fly—I always wanted
to do that, and dance and tumble in the air, and move by thinking—
Hayden got that right too.
But the thing
I know you will love is the smell.
The way the air is a thousand times more
alive, with a choir of smells, lilacs and dirt and glaciers
and tundra and the wind off a waterfall
all at once, and other things I never smelled
on earth but only because I didn’t know how.
And now I do. And I love you.