David Xiang currently studies at Harvard College in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He fell in love with writing poetry as a freshman in high school, after attending the Kenyon Review Young Writers Workshop. In 2015, he was selected as a National Student Poet, America’s highest honor for youth poets. He gave his inaugural poetry reading at the White House at the invitation of former First Lady Michelle Obama, and has shared his experiences with poetry at high schools and conferences all over the nation. At Harvard, he has taken classes with Josh Bell and Jorie Graham, and is on the poetry board at the Harvard Advocate. He has been recently published in the Cordite Poetry Review and the Bluffton Literary Journal.
the third Sunday of June
after John Berryman
Here’s the early hours, if you listen closely, just briefly,
before the sky dusks into mares they will never harness,
and no one sees it.
This is where I find you, eyes the color of everything,
a shade of forgetting. Maybe I’ll see it in the brick, or
small yellow inside
this life, which grumbles, snarls, and when spelled correctly
is quite boring. You make it not so, a different tongue
indecipherable (everyday) to phaeton the whiner,
or macbeth, poor shadow, with his struts & frets
drive me mad
enough to hate doing the right thing, which excites me.
And this silence echoing & pressing in feel like hooves
step aside & reappear in the fireflies pushing away
mountains, making up for polluted skies, leaving
behind: me, look.
A gardener cares for flowers that are not hers
after Birdie Park
sadness in beginnings
every stem looking for home
roots hanging on to every last drop
they never stay always a new always a forgetting
how hard this pain must be but you share it with me and
we call that beauty leftover from pollen
rubbing grass stains on these stars
pulling the heavens
in the sun
you coaxed these flowers
open knowing footprints raze
worked into blindness yet you loved watered
these children we’ll never name never watch grow old
every morning at the break you are filled with new breath
to hope this earth will be barren but elsewhere
blooming colors that are no longer ours
with only tears to plant again you
just smile small and
so do I.