The Volta
Sylvia Chan

To be fair, the poet swallowed canticle whole,
the s sounds filing into his mouth.

City disappearing
into amber. Vilnius, choice of climbing to the Three Crosses.
My lisp pulled his song schemes open with both hands, asking

for empathy. Without a hesitance, I could not
empathize. There was no such thing as
a forerunner's waltz, no high leaps in cellophane.

My little sister's lungs do not ever shrink. I am jealous
that my sputum will always be sickly green, that by
inverse of happenstance, I do not breathe as much. Siphoning

aerosol pipes into my mouth. Dancing on the fat ants of the folded
cobblestones, inverted leap and air. Girls from Old Town wiped my sadness

for me, and I made the transition to a closed position. The man took
hold of me below waist; in these counts, we had fingered obscenity,
fear being that longer step sprung close to the ground.

Recoiling from the hands, I kept talking because he was an important contact.
There was no whiteness or romance; I steadied myself
for the spring, two songs and a leap. I was folded into his
spinal six-eight time, six-

eight. Two songs and a leap.
If form was not sincerity at each measure, my poet would take
away from me. On the second beat there was a longer step.
Opening wide, I filled his song settings. I could not be held.