dear strange sad birdwinged thing that taps thin claws
against the underside of the sternum,
i used to tuck road salt / into my pockets / at the end of every winter
because i was so charmed / by the idea           of melting snow
without warmth, after
the ice angels i slotted between my fingers,
lulled past the point of feeling, slipped away
like a nightmare bottlenecking into morning. 

sometimes i forget we were never anywhere / but here.
sometimes i feel you retreating / like the blooms that close
in the cold of night. i'm sorry i forgot your name
and its satin slipslide. you told me once
a name can be murdered / slowly, softly,                    lovingly,
so long            as the world still turns.
so long            as the silkworm spins.

it was a little too true to tolerate then               and so it is,
now. i was a paperweight made / of masking tape and newsprint
and not much else / besides dollar-store feathers,
and let’s be honest: i don’t know / how to make anything new. only how
to stretch what already exists / into odd new shapes, thinner
and thinner. if you are slow in your forcefulness
it can be mistaken as a touch too tender           to break / anything else.

dear feather-brittle one, we carry damage / in the same way
and i'm sorry i didn't remove you from your-our-my body
fast enough, didn't slam the door of the room
fast enough / to avoid the slam of heart           against ribcage, birdcage, bird
against skyscraper window,
against ground.

you know better than i do / about the improbability of foamriver lungs
and i know better about believing / in the sleepy milkboned kind
of desperation. these days                   i am less in this body, more hitching a ride
on the balloon whose string is now slipping off
a hollow-boned wrist. i ribbon into shapes that fit
through window screens. leave the room
                                                                        peppered with strange polygons / of light.


QUINN LUI is a Chinese-Canadian student and writer attending the University of Toronto. At this very moment, they are probably spending too much money on bubble tea or talking to their houseplants. Their work has appeared in Synaesthesia Magazine, Occulum, Luna Luna Magazine, and elsewhere, as well as in chapbook form (teething season for new skin, L'Éphémère Review 2018). You can find them @flowercryptid on TumblrTwitter, and Instagram