Poetry

Dear Millennium, of Edible Blossoms and the Unborn

Karen An-hwei Lee

The unborn who never make it into this world are edible
blossoms in the orphic throat of God, garlanded by floral
seraphs. Yes, the sky-blue borage, the cilantro and fennel
and calendula, the crystallized viola and skirted zucchini,
the alyssum and the fava bean flowers, even the dahlia –
the micro-fuchsia, and the dianthus, the garlic and chive,
the ox-eyed sun-daisy, the shiso blossoms for mint julep,
chiffonade garnish of sage and sorrel of ribboned jade,
the umbels of onion blooms, the six-petaled bell pepper
florets of nightshade, the hibiscus without hips, the ice
plant flourishing on sea cliffs where I touched sweet pea
entwined within the chaparral understory where a sand
lizard, a brother who never came to be, who lost his tail
before he was born, greets me every afternoon while sun
bathing, his missing appendage reblooming with aplomb,
as if admonishing our millennium with apostolic fervor –
in lumine tuo videbimus lumen, in your light we see light.

Karen An-hwei Lee is the author of Phyla of Joy, Ardor, and In Medias Res, as well as a novel, Sonata in K , and a translation of a volume of Li Qingzhao’s collected poetry and prose, Doubled Radiance. She has published a critical study entitled Anglophone Literatures in the Asian Diaspora: Literary Transnationalism and Translingual Migrations. She lives in San Diego and serves in the university administration at Point Loma Nazarene University.
Originally published:
April 1, 2019

Featured

Essays

Communalism in the Veld

Rethinking property in South Africa
Glen Retief

Fiction

The Front House

Cord Jefferson

Books

The Sublime Modes of Sheila Heti

The novelist as philosopher
Noreen Khawaja

You Might Also Like

Poetry

Dissonance

Barry Goldensohn

Poetry

Bulgur

Peter Balakian

Poetry

The Potato Plants

Jodie Hollander

Subscribe

New perspectives, enduring writing. Subscribe to The Yale Review and receive four beautiful print issues per year.
Subscribe