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Aimee Seu

Why tell someone the nightmares where they harmed you? 

Blonde eyelash, morning dark with rain, every moment of lostness

was the finding. On the living room couch, fingers locked 

inside my body, you asked Did you miss this? Blue pyromania 

of your stare carving a shrine in me by kaleidoscope.

How whales feel weightless all their lives, I watched

from the bedroom your slim silhouette in the shower

like someone struggling through snow. My ass cheek craved 

its bitemark. In my old bedroom, buoyant third floor

gloom, your mouth like hot wax sealing an envelope 

of secret royal matter. You like to lean back and observe

my heathen glossolalia, scratching and pulling your hair 

like I need something from you. I need something from you. 

You know I missed this, and long before I saw its outline

black against the guessing newborn sky. 

I used to bike through the thrown knives of city lights 

after work, drunk, nostrils gritty with stardust as every 

possible death honked its horn, swerved around. Skullfucked 

by the noise in my headphones, daring violence, glowing yellow 

face of the bell tower clock was a nauseous second moon 

its hands like scissors cutting expensive bolts of time

wrapped neatly, delivered to oblivion. I was numb not brave. 

We were blind asteroids barreling toward each other 

across the ghostly pink nebula of childhood

through the dark eons slept on the bathroom floor 

my soul, unconscious and churning, expelled a prayer 

that was more like a gasp, like a trapped animal 

vocalizing loneliness, I had no word yet for this:

cove of your jaw, neck, collarbone, that sacred constellation. 

May I mourn the present? I miss you even as I look at you,

as my hair swirls over your chest in the night like ivy

climbing a castle wall. Our favorite drinking game: 

the ten of cups turned over. Stars firing, irises opening 

chrysanthemum boy, what do I look like when I’m gone? 


Aimee Seu is the author of Velvet Hounds, winner of The Akron Poetry Prize. She graduated from the University of Virginia Creative Writing MFA Poetry Program in 2020 as a Poe/Faulkner Fellow where she was recipient of the 2019 Academy of American Poets Prize. Other awards she’s received include the 2020 Los Angeles Review Poetry Award, the 2020 Henfield Prize for Fiction, the 2016 Academy of American Poets Prize at Temple University, the Temple University 2016 William Van Wert Award, and the Mills College Undergraduate Poetry Award. She was a semifinalist in the 2019 New Guard Vol. IX Knightville Poetry Contest judged by Richard Blanco and a finalist for the 2020 Black Warrior Poetry Prize judged by Paul Tran. Her poetry, fiction and nonfiction have appeared or have forthcoming publications in Ninth Letter, Pleiades, Los Angeles Review, BOAAT, Redivider, Raleigh Review, Diode, Minnesota Review, Blacklist, Adroit, Harpur Palate, and Runestone Magazine. She is a Philadelphia native currently living in Tallahassee where she is a Poetry PhD student at Florida State University.

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