Issue #9 July 2017
Detail from Alone by Tim Frisch

Gavin Gao

Blue Hour

Waves heave against the fenced-in horizon.
They seek a listener, chime a single melancholy
note in the whorled ear
of a stranded shell, which I mistake

for your heartbeat. Where we live
sleep is expensive. But you purchase it
with your shallow breathing, cheek buried

in your pillow, and the moonlight
tonight is the lone traveler on the highway
of your spine. This is the blue hour

when all the music of the universe
is still waiting to be played
and everything is tinged with renewal exactly

the color of a wintry sea. And the impossible
task of being wholly alone: the way

we once unbuttoned each other’s skin,
our hands feverish with greed, right
down to the barest threads only

to find beneath it a circle
of friends & kin waiting
to glare at us, their inescapable eyes
wide with fear & suspicion.

How I long for the world to return
to its first form, a shoreless echo
like a fetal kick in ultrasound
strong as gold. Our bones

shall be folded back into star stuff, back
to their cosmic potential, all
phantom fires & radiant sawdust whizzing

through space, past the need for
speech or language towards
the same genesis. Instead,

the leaves in my head grow
too dense for thinking. They rustle
solemnly against life and yoke
pools of blue light as the bicycle

wheels in the trees
keep on spinning. Dawn breaks
against our skin, raw as a new wound.

I can see the sheep now stepping
gingerly out of the thick nets
of their own silhouettes

to tread the pebbles on the beach. Their faces
innocent & knowing as children’s.