All Pure Salt

By Cheryl Julia Lee



Sometimes it’s kinder to believe

that the world is flat,

that it’s better to give than to receive,

that you’re almost



In Madrid, they built a church on a lie

that every day still rings its bells three times.


But kindness doesn’t interest

me when it comes to wanting you.


If ever I was made to fall

in love, and to fall in love with a girl,

that girl is you.


Two points are enough to establish direction:

I started with a word

I was frightened of as a child

and I see my solitude finishing in you.


Two people on a paper boat are saved from sinking

if the sea is all pure salt

as this sea is, I promise you—

you can trust this floating feeling.


It is the water telling you not everything will get better

but not everything hits the ground either.


The only physics proper to this universe

is the one that says gravity is attraction

not surrender.


I’m putting my hands down and opening my palms wide.

So come my way, so come close,

come closer still.


Room for Wounding


Take how the universe began: heaven

divided from earth, lovers pulled apart,

space expanding in time towards collapse.

Or how we make meaning from ritual

sacrifice: bread pressed into palm remembering

stigmata, dreams of snow or teeth translated

into foreboding, the womb filling up

to be emptied. There is always room here

for wounding. Two goats on separate cliffs

calling to one another make a tragedy;

a sculptor’s daughter missing her beloved

traces his shadow and invents drawing.



Photograph: Anna Gibbs 



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