Issue 26 – 2015 – Karen An-hwei Lee

Karen An-hwei Lee


On Millennial Angels Of Gravity

Or revolution as the anagram of root-unveil

             Of gravity and God in the millennium            
                          ardent face of the deep
orbiting a beatific voice of divine 
as deep 
calls to deep 

                                Of air emergencies                       
aflame & unhoused firelight  
                       warring in human borders of light curving  
Querying an iota of oval saint                                    
anagram for salvation so valiant   
no elision of holy vowels 
                                    Or elision of holy vowels 


God of X-Multiplication

Dear God of x-multiplied fishes 
                             in questions, not yet revelations —
for instance, God: whether divine love
           flows right to left on facing pages, recto verso

                                      or left to right, verso recto.
God, does love fix our reduction to the absurd
reductio ad absurdum
in short-lived 
                                      intervals, n-1
to infinite regression?  Are the coefficients of fish 
and loaves multiplied with hunger
             as one variable out of thousands?

Prayer at Thirty-Seven Thousand Feet Above Sea Level

To travel    
on a thousand prayers. To say I was blessed as a girl 
to fly across the world 
                           so it no longer holds mystique. 
Still, a miracle to ride the air. 

To look up weather reports. 
To use origami skills, folding clothes to the tiniest size.  
To bring a rain parka folded like a wing or not. 

To notate the back of a napkin — 
ate a quarter of a red-angel pomegranate 
                                 this afternoon. Tart.

To fly over small orchards, blossom-end.



Karen An-hwei Lee is the author of Phyla of Joy (Tupelo 2012), Ardor (Tupelo 2008) and In Medias Res (Sarabande 2004), winner of the Norma Farber First Book Award.  Lee also wrote two chapbooks, God’s One Hundred Promises (Swan Scythe 2002) and What the Sea Earns for a Living (Quaci Press 2014). Her book of literary criticism, Anglophone Literatures in the Asian Diaspora: Literary Transnationalism and Translingual Migrations (Cambria, 2013), was selected for the Cambria Sinophone World Series. The recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Grant, she serves as Full Professor of English and Chair at a liberal arts college in greater Los Angeles. Lee is a voting member of the National Book Critics Circle.