Tonight the moon rings against my teeth
like cast-iron played with a mallet.
I hold my imaginary life out
over a hard clay roof
and shake its excesses over the world,
the scent of phosphates saturating the atmosphere.
Whatever you want from
family you should say
before it is too late. I should know
because love slipped beneath my straw
slippers and dashed away
before I could ascertain
if it was a furred creature or a reflection
of a traveling light. My stomach aches now
in the room without a door,
in the republic with no bright flag.
It wakes me in the small hours
and reminds me of a little-known
life past, in which I could stand
rooted in my own feet
and lift my chin up to greet
the imaginary firmament.
Debora Kuan is the author of XING and Lunch Portraits. Her work has appeared in Poetry, The New Republic, The Iowa Review, ZYZZYVA, Boston Review, New American Writing, and elsewhere. She has received a US Fulbright creative writing fellowship, as well as residencies at Yaddo, Macdowell, and Santa Fe Art Institute. She is currently poet laureate of Wallingford, CT, where she lives with her husband and two children.