“Removed at the Moment of Perfection”

Click  here  to listen to Timothy Liu read this poem.

The earth has moved forward, in a sense, or does it merely turn

against itself? The trees have moved forward, putting forth
leaves, shade. But I have not moved forward though I was surely

moved. At the St. Regis Hotel, the butlers change fresh roses

that need no changing, butlers who are paid to notice the most
infinitesimal, the almost unseen, the earth turning towards

its own demise, too far off to be seen, myself all along hoping

for a longer winter to burrow in for just a few more months
instead of turning forty here in this world that you have left me

but the weather asks us to emerge, face the present conditions

we’d never have imagined, not to the dream of love returned
but of love withheld and its unsettling tensions as the earth

turns, no matter where we turn, the tension in the simultaneous

seasons moving across the face of the earth, in all the leaves
that will lose their shimmer, given time, while I wait inside

the unseen decay of a hotel room filled with a scent that lingers.