Poetry: “this is just to say” by Karly Hou

I was thinking that I know it is not shame/ but the knotting and unknotting of every time you leave.”

Inspired by the musings of Sylvia Plath and the imagery of William Carlos Williams, Karly Hou offers a new perspective on the nuances of love and relationships in “this is just to say.”

this is just to say

after Sylvia Plath and William Carlos Williams

I have let rot
the figs
that were in
the icebox

and which
you probably
me to eat

forgive me
I know you
always wanted the best
for me

but I was thinking of life branching out before me like the green
fig tree in the story. I was thinking of eve with her leaves and whether
they might have been honest. I was thinking that I know it is not shame
but the knotting and unknotting of every time you leave. leaves growing.
I was thinking of myself starving to death.
I was thinking of us in that tree, the one that never bore fruit. we recognized
it nonetheless as a fig by the curve of its branches, the curve we barely kept
stretched by fraying thread and called a bow and arrow. the one we pretended
to shoot at the patch of fence your neighbor refused to fix. some version of me
is there now, still sitting in that tree with that memory of you and wishing
for a sweet dusty fig. I would have held it too long and it would have oozed. warm.
like fusing summer. three thousand miles isn’t too much. and my fingers would have
been sticky.

Karly Hou

Originally from the San Francisco area, Karly Hou is pursuing her BA and MS at Harvard University. She can often be found playing with cameras, trying to build helpful things, standing too close to paintings, looking at moss, looking at the ocean, humming loudly, teaching, learning, and in a state of awe. Her writing is forthcoming in Barely South Review. You can find more of her work at karlyhou.com or on Twitter @kbarley66.

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