no evidence of you


Nokyoung Xayasane

I’m getting ready
to do the laundry.
I’m washing
the sheets.
The sheets are
from Monday night
Tuesday morning.
There are these
relics around me.
There is a guitar
in the living room
that my ex gave me.
There is a lamp
on my bedside table
that a lover bought
for me once.
There are these
dried flowers
roses and white tulips
baby’s breath
hard twigs
and crispy leaves
tied with a white ribbon.
The tulips
were given to me
on a third date.
The roses
were handed to me
by a lovelorn man
on a street corner.
I tie them together
into a bundle
into a bow
on my little table
by my window
as if they are
one and the same.
They are.
They are
the relics of
hope and desire
and love and loss.
I look around
for relics of you.
There are no gifts
from you
no keepsakes
no evidence
no proof.
There once was
a bruise on my neck
on my chin
that I hid
with makeup.
I thought my date
at the time
would notice
but he did not.
He isn’t as
observant as you.
You are sharp
you pretend
to be dull.
You are wise
you pretend
to be foolish.
Why is there
no evidence of you?
I sit
in front of my mirror.
There you are.
You are unnoticed
and you are
I get up
and stuff
the comforter
back into its casing.
White fluff
twirls and dances
in the open air
by my window
in the sunlight.
No evidence.
No evidence
of you
at all.

you are the beginning and the ending


Nokyoung Xayasane

You are the beginning
and the ending.
It is like this:
with you I am
my worst self,
and I feel no shame.
You show me
the darkest part of you,
and I want to drown
in that darkness.

When I see you,
we exchange
very few words
because I know you.
I’ve known you
before memory
and before recollection.
You are
from another time,
a time when I was young
and sorrowful and sad.
You are a wellspring
of quietness and knowledge,
you wreck and destroy,
you hold and caress,
you rebuild and replenish.
You are the hard flat boulder
held up in the quiet stream
that I laid upon
one summer,
trying to find meaning in the sky.

You glide your thumb
along my lower lip,
you clench your hand
against my waist,
and I feel no pain.
The AC,
it has stopped working,
our bodies are drenched,
our hair is damp.
I clutch at it by the roots.
You are the dark purple bruises
along my thigh
my neck
my chin.
You are the dark damp place
where I go to hide.
You are the quiet calm after
rushing, rushing.

The thing is
I know you do not fear me.
And somehow
that is enough for me.
are enough for me.
You are interspersed
among all the men
I’ve been seeing lately.
You know about them.
I do not lie to you.
I do not ask you questions
with sorrowful answers.

When you leave,
I try to forget you.
And in that act,
I remember you
more vividly,
panoramic and bright.
In truth,
I do not wish
to erase your smell,
your sweat,
the imprint of your hands
from my hair
my face
or from my body.

You are the beginning.
Will you be the ending?
One can never know
these things.
One can only hope.
Hope, I believe,
is all we have.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine

the world offers itself to your imagination (Photo credit: @nokyoungxayasane / Instagram)

the world offers itself to your imagination (Photo credit: @nokxayasane/Instagram)

Wild Geese, Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.