Two poems by Cynthia X. Hua

harbor / credit: d.enckharbor / credit: d.enck

Brown Eyes

So the universe is everything,
even the anthills

even the anthills lit with whispering, longing,
elegant brownstones and engine fires and dirty arguments

the body you didn’t ask to be a part of
burns down alongside the gas stations, the keycard

to the motel room, and the strangers you asked for
because right then, you wanted a different universe

so people are some of the common scenes
this planet offers, and you are the most recognizable

sample beneath the microscope, the black-haired and
garden variety that waits for the bus, in line at the bank

alongside so many things you have lost, handfuls
you loved to no end, endings burst open like pages

of carnations and infernos, and that was something you held
for a long time in your palm, not believing this

was a light you could touch, the newborn in pink cloth,
a world you were a part of. On God’s earth,

pierced by meteors, apple trees, a hallway swimming with clocks,
how you lived in a universe full of you, and filled it,

how if you could look into the universe’s face,
I believe it would have brown eyes.

Invisible Winter

does a universe exist
if we do not look at it

if it sits alone in curtained rooms,
quarks and chrysanthemums

dressed in darkness, in checkered patterns
if it does not answer the door,

the doorbells do not ring, do not sing
except in its dreams, can a face dream

if it is half a dream of other faces,
if it waits in line but a shoulder brushes past,

then another, if the teacher at the blackboard
calls it by any other name,

does the air become a rose, can anything
make it beautiful, a winning hand

is an adjective allowed to want what
it can never have, a body

does the startling cold exist if no one walks through it,
how much winters passes in the window where you tell

no one, what name can we give the silence
that will not butterfly its chest into beatings,

into a secret staircase that leads nowhere, where I
introduce myself again with only the sound of water

when the universe is sickly, drinking
its own voices, pulling hair out in the shower

can you hold its hand if you cannot feel
the edge where it begins

can you see the center of a being that is only edges

or is that nothing

About Cynthia X. Hua

Cynthia X. Hua is a poet and artist. She was previously a finalist for the Norman Mailer Awards in Poetry, and a fellow with Brooklyn Poets. She has been published in Boulevard, Glass Poetry, and Carbon Culture.

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