“Chiaroscuro”, “Mel”, “I, Night”, “Glass Tumulus”, “Drifter” by Sherry Luo

“Chiaroscuro”, “Mel”, “I, Night”, “Glass Tumulus”, “Drifter” by Sherry Luo



and my calico body, the purple vellum of night presses up against me like hot loaves of bread against an ailing,        living thing already lying on my catafalque.

Where wolves are born with the feet of crows, the sickle moon smiles down on me, drooling white
            gouache onto my hatched and stippled sublunary face soot       rolling in the

In the dark, I return to the safety of the tenebrous womb, where I drink in the umber consommé
that surrounds me, so vast I can reach forever and never touch


A black shadow races down my throat like a black sloe slug when I swallow, thirsty.

Insomniac Ugly, I walk among ebons, not realizing they are dancing anthracitic women with
nocturnal pitch blood.

There is no wind.

A girl named Claire, a boy named Oscur. They loved but never                                                touched each other despite their bottom secret thoughts.

In this atramental miasma I cannot see how many coats have been                            thrust.

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Charred vignettes, when I thumb their indefinite edges,       






The human
soul weighs ¾
of an ounce —
a bowl of cereal
in your chest — the
dregs slurped
up finally by
a nymphet with
lips mellified from
doing this
so many times.

Her favorite is flakes,
not puffs.

stopped trying to
prove otherwise
happens —
it sounds
plausible enough.


Body: glume for
everything gone
and crucial. Now
a vacuum for
leech roots,
feelers for the
freshly vacant.

bearing argentine
pears because
the canned stuff
just sucks.

nighters — wearing
plague masks, beaks
glutted with
lavender — come
to roost,
warding from
what they bring.


Where moths
burn their
likeness on
what they land, the
Lady walks.

Lady — your face
behind a veil, a
silk caul, only
the dark of
your eyes, your
mellified lips, shine

Your crown
of grey roses, it
slices your
temples, soft as
cream, leaving
scratches – long

Fill in
the blank here,
sign there — next to
the x.

The sanguine
paint a melon out
of her stomach,
pregnant with dirt.

On the back of
her neck,
+ scars, – scars,
from your
Husky screwdrivers.


When you
wake up, you find
she’s the one —
lying next
to you.



I, Night

My nubile thoughts
always come to you
like smoke returning to its
birth mother
fire in
a lead winter.

That lead winter, the
concrete called to me, to me
and my chalk bones
and raisin heart. The
scattered rice stars were
witnesses to the distance
between you,

me, and the
cold concrete.

I only knew true religion
after I met you.
I woke at every
dawn, your dusk, turned
my body to where you were
and brushed my
teeth, pretending to brush
them with you, sharing
your rinse cup, your
bouquet of razors,
the private itch on your left

I l— you.
Those taboo sounds never
passed our careful lips. Instead
we swallowed them
like shots of hot whisky.
Over now.
Sober now.
The tremens have taken over now.

You and your spindrift ways
your brume words:

You held me
upside down, shook me up and down
like a plastic bear with
nothing to give
but honey, good and plain.
till I had nothing left, was nothing
but a plastic husk, an empty polyethylene
chrysalis the shape of a bear.

You put breezeblocks
on my willing
chest as your scalpel tongue
cut from sternum down, tied
my vena cava into an
&mpersand. Did not bother
to sew me back up so now
my prime meridian
is a cesarean scar.

My face,
it did not exist for you.

I, night, love you, day.
I chase you.
You run away.


Glass Tumulus


I am currently an undergraduate at the University of Georgia pursuing a B.A. in English. I am the latest recipient of the Georgia Poet Laureate Prize, and my work has appeared in Atlanta Magazine.

Category : Issue Five July 2017 Tags : , ,

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