Bent Lyre

Sandra Lim

I would bring out the coffee,

bread and butter, salt, and a piece of fruit.

The pigeons ran around in berserk patterns outside.

Our warm, clandestine complicity had the force of a new actuality.

Many mornings, we drank our coffee without any pleasantries.

At the table, along an axis of real and imaginary numbers, you made

your notes. I loved how true the imaginary numbers could be;

it was much more interesting than life—you could have company

and you could have loneliness in it. Your hardness

and your terrifying honesty could be bitter, but I forgave the bitterness.

Next to all that, my words to you must have the ring of false contrition;

but like a lack of medicine or money, they are sincere.

Sandra Lim is the author of The Wilderness and Loveliest Grotesque. She is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.
Originally published:
January 1, 2020

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