Lovers’ Critique



Photo taken at The Hurricane Deck, Niagara Falls State Park, NY. 2013

How can I speak to you, if you

are an image, or an expression,

or a representation of my unfulfilled desires?

When I look into your eyes, do I see a universe

inside and beyond you unfolding? Or do I see

potentials that I had never actualized within myself?

Can I even see you, if I only see dancing shadows, from you,

of wounded experiences, that I, and all the women in my family

my ancestry, have had with men?

Am I looking at you, or the broken

masculine of myself? I can’t really see you,

if you are reduced to, by me, attributes

that reminded me of my dead father,

and my deepest longing for his presence.

Is it possible for me to meet you?

Is it even possible to recognize you as you?

You are fluidity, you are essence

oscillating. Each time I meet you

you are a new person

Can I recognize the newness inside of you?

Can I remember you, without omitting or

offending the newness you had created,

are creating for and of yourself?

Can I wake up each morning

to get to know you all over again,

without forgetting who you were yesterday,

and maintain inexhaustible curiosity

to meet this newness in you, this new being

that you are, and are going to be today

and tomorrow?

My love to you is impossible, if I am unable

to see you without reducing you. Is it even fair,

to you, and me, to play mirror for each other

and call this love? Ain’t we reducing love

to an exchange of playing shadows?

I can’t be with you, even though I am with you

You are not here yet, even though you have already arrived

How can I touch you, if you are not really there?

How much time do you and I really have

together, with this you and this I, without

shadows and memories, without dwelling

or wandering into the more or less than

but now?


By Gracelynn Lau (2017)