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The gift li young lee

25 poems by Li-Young Lee

1. THE WEIGHT OF SWEETNESS

2. Early in the Morning

3. Eating Alone

4. The Gift

5. A Story

6. The Hammock

7. Mnemonic

8. From Blossoms

9. Pillow

10. Mnemonic

11. The Hour and What Is Dead

12. Night Mirror 13. Little Father

14. ONE HEART

15. Station

16. Black Petal

17. From Blossoms

18. A Hymn to Childhood

19. Falling: The Code

20. Nocturne

21. Eating Together

22. I Ask My Mother to Sing

23. This Hour and What Is Dead

24. Immigrant Blues

25. Arise, Go Down

1. THE WEIGHT OF SWEETNESS

No easy thing to bear, the weight of sweetness.

Song, wisdom, sadness. Joy: sweetness equals three of any of these gravities.

See a peach bend the branch and strain the stem until it snaps. Hold the peach, try the weight, sweetness and death so round and snug in your palm. And, so, there is The weight of memory:

Windblown, a rain-soaked bough shakes, showering the man and the boy. They shiver in delight, and the father lifts from his son’s cheek one green leaf fallen like a kiss.

The good boy hugs a bag of peaches his father has entrusted to him. Now he follows his father, who carries a bagful in each arm. See the look on the boy’s face as his father moves faster and farther ahead, while his own steps flag, and his arms grow weak, as he labors under the weight of peaches.

2. Early in the Morning

While the long grain is softening

in the water, gurgling

over a low stove flame, before

the salted Winter Vegetable is sliced

for breakfast, before the birds,

my mother glides an ivory comb

through her hair, heavy

and black as calligrapher’s ink.

She sits at the foot of the bed.

My father watches, listens for

the music of comb

against hair.

My mother combs,

pulls her hair back

tight, rolls it

around two fingers, pins it

in a bun to the back of her head.

For half a hundred years she has done this.

My father likes to see it like this.

He says it is kempt.

But I know

it is because of the way

my mother’s hair falls

when he pulls the pins out.

Easily, like the curtains

when they untie them in the evening.

18. Falling: The Code

1.

Through the night

the apples

outside my window

one by one let go

their branches and

drop to the lawn.

I can’t see, but hear

the stem-snap, the plummet

through leaves, then

the final thump against the ground.

Sometimes two

at once, or one

right after another.

During long moments of silence

I wait

and wonder about the bruised bodies,

the terror of diving through air, and

think I’ll go tomorrow

to find the newly fallen, but they

all look alike lying there

dewsoaked, disappearing before me.

2.

I lie beneath my window listening

to the sound of apples dropping in

the yard, a syncopated code I long to know,

which continues even as I sleep, and dream I know

the meaning of what I hear, each dull

thud of unseen apple-

body, the earth

falling to earth

once and forever, over

and over.

3. Eating Alone

I've pulled the last of the year's young onions. The garden is bare now. The ground is cold, brown and old. What is left of the day flames in the maples at the corner of my eye. I turn, a cardinal vanishes. By the cellar door, I wash the onions, then drink from the icy metal spigot. Once, years back, I walked beside my father among the windfall pears. I can't recall our words. We may have strolled in silence. But I still see him bend that way-left hand braced on knee, creaky-to lift and hold to my eye a rotten pear. In it, a hornet spun crazily, glazed in slow, glistening juice. It was my father I saw this morning waving to me from the trees. I almost called to him, until I came close enough to see the shovel, leaning where I had left it, in the flickering, deep green shade. White rice steaming, almost done. Sweet green peas fried in onions. Shrimp braised in sesame oil and garlic. And my own loneliness. What more could I, a young man, want.

4. The Gift

BY LI-YOUNG LEE

To pull the metal splinter from my palm

my father recited a story in a low voice.

I watched his lovely face and not the blade.

Before the story ended, he’d removed

the iron sliver I thought I’d die from.

I can’t remember the tale,

but hear his voice still, a well

of dark water, a prayer.

And I recall his hands,

two measures of tenderness

he laid against my face,

the flames of discipline

he raised above my head.

Had you entered that afternoon

you would have thought you saw a man

planting something in a boy’s palm,

a silver tear, a tiny flame.

Had you followed that boy

you would have arrived here,

where I bend over my wife’s right hand.

Look how I shave her thumbnail down

so carefully she feels no pain.

Watch as I lift the splinter out.

I was seven when my father

took my hand like this,

and I did not hold that shard

between my fingers and think,

Metal that will bury me,

christen it Little Assassin,

Ore Going Deep for My Heart.

And I did not lift up my wound and cry,

Death visited here!

I did what a child does

when he’s given something to keep.

I kissed my father.

5. A Story

Sad is the man who is asked for a story and can't come up with one.

His five-year-old son waits in his lap. Not the same story, Baba. A new one. The man rubs his chin, scratches his ear.

In a room full of books in a world of stories, he can recall not one, and soon, he thinks, the boy will give up on his father.

Already the man lives far ahead, he sees the day this boy will go. Don't go! Hear the alligator story! The angel story once more! You love the spider story. You laugh at the spider. Let me tell it!

But the boy is packing his shirts, he is looking for his keys. Are you a god, the man screams, that I sit mute before you? Am I a god that I should never disappoint?

But the boy is here. Please, Baba, a story? It is an emotional rather than logical equation, an earthly rather than heavenly one, which posits that a boy's supplications and a father's love add up to silence.

6. The Hammock

Li-Young Lee, 1957

When I lay my head in my mother’s lap

I think how day hides the stars,

the way I lay hidden once, waiting

inside my mother’s singing to herself. And I remember

how she carried me on her back

between home and the kindergarten,

once each morning and once each afternoon.

I don’t know what my mother’s thinking.

When my son lays his head in my lap, I wonder:

Do his father’s kisses keep his father’s worries

from becoming his? I think, Dear God, and remember

there are stars we haven’t heard from yet:

They have so far to arrive. Amen,

I think, and I feel almost comforted.

I’ve no idea what my child is thinking.

Between two unknowns, I live my life.

Between my mother’s hopes, older than I am

by coming before me, and my child’s wishes, older than I am

by outliving me. And what’s it like?

Is it a door, and good-bye on either side?

A window, and eternity on either side?

Yes, and a little singing between two great rests.

7. Mnemonic

Li-Young Lee, 1957

I was tired. So I lay down.

My lids grew heavy. So I slept.

Slender memory, stay with me.

I was cold once. So my father took off his blue sweater.

He wrapped me in it, and I never gave it back.

It is the sweater he wore to America,

this one, which I’ve grown into, whose sleeves are too long,

whose elbows have thinned, who outlives its rightful owner.

Flamboyant blue in daylight, poor blue by daylight,

it is black in the folds.

A serious man who devised complex systems of numbers and rhymes

to aid him in remembering, a man who forgot nothing, my father

would be ashamed of me.

Not because I’m forgetful,

but because there is no order

to my memory, a heap

of details, uncatalogued, illogical.

For instance:

God was lonely. So he made me.

My father loved me. So he spanked me.

It hurt him to do so. He did it daily.

The earth is flat. Those who fall off don’t return.

The earth is round. All things reveal themselves to men only gradually.

It won’t last. Memory is sweet.

Even when it’s painful, memory is sweet.

Once I was cold. So my father took off his blue sweater.

8. From Blossoms

Li-Young Lee, 1957

From blossoms comes

this brown paper bag of peaches

we bought from the boy

at the bend in the road where we turned toward

signs painted Peaches.

From laden boughs, from hands,

from sweet fellowship in the bins,

comes nectar at the roadside, succulent

peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,

comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.

O, to take what we love inside,

to carry within us an orchard, to eat

not only the skin, but the shade,

not only the sugar, but the days, to hold

the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into

the round jubilance of peach.

There are days we live

as if death were nowhere

in the background; from joy

to joy to joy, from wing to wing,

from blossom to blossom to

impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.

9. Pillow

There's nothing I can't find under there. Voices in the trees, the missing

pages of the sea.

Everything but sleep.

And night is a river bridging

the speaking and the listening banks,

a fortress, undefended and inviolate.

There's nothing that won't fit under it:

fountains clogged with mud and leaves,

the houses of my childhood.

And night begins when my mother's fingers

let go of the thread

they've been tying and untying

to touch toward our fraying story's hem.

Night is the shadow of my father's hands

setting the clock for resurrection.

Or is it the clock unraveled, the numbers flown?

There's nothing that hasn't found home there:

discarded wings, lost shoes, a broken alphabet.

Everything but sleep. And night begins

with the first beheading

of the jasmine, its captive fragrance

rid at last of burial clothes.

10. Mnemonic

I was tired. So I lay down.

My lids grew heavy. So I slept.

Slender memory, stay with me.

I was cold once. So my father took off his blue sweater.

He wrapped me in it, and I never gave it back.

It is the sweater he wore to America,

this one, which I've grown into, whose sleeves are too long,

whose elbows have thinned, who outlives its rightful owner.

Flamboyant blue in daylight, poor blue by daylight,

it is black in the folds.

A serious man who devised complex systems of numbers and rhymes

to aid him in remembering, a man who forgot nothing, my father

would be ashamed of me.

Not because I'm forgetful,

but because there is no order

to my memory, a heap

of details, uncatalogued, illogical.

For instance:

God was lonely. So he made me.

My father loved me. So he spanked me.

It hurt him to do so. He did it daily.

The earth is flat. Those who fall off don't return.

The earth is round. All things reveal themselves to men only gradually.

It won't last. Memory is sweet.

Even when it's painful, memory is sweet.

Once I was cold. So my father took off his blue sweater.

11. The Hour and What Is Dead

Tonight my brother, in heavy boots, is walking

through bare rooms over my head,

opening and closing doors.

What could he be looking for in an empty house?

What could he possibly need there in heaven?

Does he remember his earth, his birthplace set to torches?

His love for me feels like spilled water

running back to its vessel.

At this hour, what is dead is restless

and what is living is burning.

Someone tell him he should sleep now.

My father keeps a light on by our bed

and readies for our journey.

He mends ten holes in the knees

of five pairs of boy's pants.

His love for me is like sewing:

various colors and too much thread,

the stitching uneven. But the needle pierces

clean through with each stroke of his hand.

At this hour, what is dead is worried

and what is living is fugitive.

Someone tell him he should sleep now.

God, that old furnace, keeps talking

with his mouth of teeth,

a beard stained at feasts, and his breath

of gasoline, airplane, human ash.

His love for me feels like fire,

feels like doves, feels like river-water.

At this hour, what is dead is helpless, kind

and helpless. While the Lord lives.

Someone tell the Lord to leave me alone.

I've had enough of his love

that feels like burning and flight and running away.

12. Night Mirror

Li-Young, don't feel lonely when you look up into great night and find yourself the far face peering hugely out from between a star and a star. All that space the nighthawk plunges through, homing, all that distance beyond embrace, what is it but your own infinity? And don't be afraid when, eyes closed, you look inside you and find night is both the silence tolling after stars and the final word that founds all beginning, find night, abyss and shuttle, a finished cloth frayed by the years, then gathered in the songs and games mothers teach their children. Look again and find yourself changed and changing, now the bewildered honey fallen into your own hands, now the immaculate fruit born of hunger. Now the unequaled perfume of your dying. And time? Time is the salty wake of your stunned entrance upon no name.

13. Little Father

I buried my father

in the sky.

Since then, the birds

clean and comb him every morning

and pull the blanket up to his chin

every night.

I buried my father underground.

Since then, my ladders

only climb down,

and all the earth has become a house

whose rooms are the hours, whose doors

stand open at evening, receiving

guest after guest.

Sometimes I see past them

to the tables spread for a wedding feast.

I buried my father in my heart.

Now he grows in me, my strange son,

my little root who won’t drink milk,

little pale foot sunk in unheard-of night,

little clock spring newly wet

in the fire, little grape, parent to the future

wine, a son the fruit of his own son,

little father I ransom with my life.

14. ONE HEART

Look at the birds. Even flying is born out of nothing. The first sky is inside you, open at either end of day. The work of wings was always freedom, fastening one heart to every falling thing.

15. Station

Your attention please. Train number 9, The Northern Zephyr, destined for River's End, is now boarding. All ticketed passengers please proceed to the gate marked Evening

Your attention please. Train number 7, Leaves Blown By, bound for The Color of Thinking and Renovated Time, is now departing. All ticketed passengers may board behind my eyes.

Your attention please. Train number 4, The Twentieth Century, has joined The Wind Undisguised to become The Written Word.

Those who never heard their names may inquire at the uneven margin of the story or else consult the ivy lying awake under our open window.

Your attention please, The Music, arriving out of hidden ground and endlessly beginning, is now the flower, now the fruit, now our cup and cheer under branches more ancient than our grandmother's hair.

Passengers with memories of the sea may board leisurely at any unmarked gate.

Fateful members of the foam may proceed to azalea.

Your attention please. Under falling petals, never think about home. Seeing begins in the dark. Listening stills us. Yesterday has gone ahead to meet you.

And the place in a book a man stops reading is the place a girl escaped through her mother's garden.

And between paired notes of the owl, a boy disappeared. Search for him goes on in the growing shadow of the clock.

And the face behind the clock's face is not his father's face.

And the hands behind the clock's hands are not his mother's hands.

All light-bearing tears may be exchanged for the accomplished wine.

Your attention please. Train number 66, Unbidden Song, soon to be the full heart's quiet, takes no passengers.

Please leave your baggage with the attendant at the window marked Your Name Sprung from Hiding.

An intrepid perfume is waging our rescue.

You may board at either end of Childhood.

16. Black Petal

I never claimed night fathered me.

that was my dead brother talking in his sleep.

I keep him under my pillow, a dear wish

that colors my laughing and crying.

I never said the wind, remembering nothing,

leaves so many rooms unaccounted for,

continual farewell must ransom

the unmistakable fragrance

our human days afford.

It was my brother, little candle in the pulpit,

reading out loud to all of earth

from the book of night.

He died too young to learn his name.

Now he answers to Vacant Boat,

Burning Wing, My Black Petal.

Ask him who his mother is. He’ll declare the birds

have eaten the path home, but each of us

joins night’s ongoing story

wherever night overtakes him,

the heart astonished to find belonging

and thanks answering thanks.

Ask if he’s hungry or thirsty,

he’ll say he’s the bread come to pass

and draw you a map

to the twelve secret hips of honey.

Does someone want to know the way to spring?

He’ll remind you

the flower was never meant to survive

the fruit’s triumph.

He says an apple’s most secret cargo

is the enduring odor of a human childhood,

our mother’s linen pressed and stored, our father’s voice

walking through the rooms.

He says he’s forgiven our sister

for playing dead and making him cry

those afternoons we were left alone in the house.

And when clocks frighten me with their long hair,

and when I spy the wind’s numerous hands

in the orchard unfastening

first the petals from the buds,

then the perfume from the flesh,

my dead brother ministers to me. His voice

weighs nothing

but the far years between

stars in their massive dying,

and I grow quiet hearing

how many of both of our tomorrows

lie waiting inside it to be born.

17. From Blossoms

From blossoms comes

this brown paper bag of peaches

we bought from the boy

at the bend in the road where we turned toward

signs painted Peaches.

From laden boughs, from hands,

from sweet fellowship in the bins,

comes nectar at the roadside, succulent

peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,

comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.

O, to take what we love inside,

to carry within us an orchard, to eat

not only the skin, but the shade,

not only the sugar, but the days, to hold

the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into

the round jubilance of peach.

There are days we live

as if death were nowhere

in the background; from joy

to joy to joy, from wing to wing,

from blossom to blossom to

impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.

19. A Hymn to Childhood

Childhood? Which childhood?

The one that didn’t last?

The one in which you learned to be afraid

of the boarded-up well in the backyard

and the ladder in the attic?

The one presided over by armed men

in ill-fitting uniforms

strolling the streets and alleys,

while loudspeakers declared a new era,

and the house around you grew bigger,

the rooms farther apart, with more and more

people missing?

The photographs whispered to each other

from their frames in the hallway.

The cooking pots said your name

each time you walked past the kitchen.

And you pretended to be dead with your sister

in games of rescue and abandonment.

You learned to lie still so long

the world seemed a play you viewed from the muffled

safety of a wing. Look! In

run the servants screaming, the soldiers shouting,

turning over the furniture,

smashing your mother’s china.

Don’t fall asleep.

Each act opens with your mother

reading a letter that makes her weep.

Each act closes with your father fallen

into the hands of Pharaoh.

Which childhood? The one that never ends? O you,

still a child, and slow to grow.

Still talking to God and thinking the snow

falling is the sound of God listening,

and winter is the high-ceilinged house

where God measures with one eye

an ocean wave in octaves and minutes,

and counts on many fingers

all the ways a child learns to say Me.

Which childhood?

The one from which you’ll never escape? You,

so slow to know

what you know and don’t know.

Still thinking you hear low song

in the wind in the eaves,

story in your breathing,

grief in the heard dove at evening,

and plentitude in the unseen bird

tolling at morning. Still slow to tell

memory from imagination, heaven

from here and now,

hell from here and now,

death from childhood, and both of them

from dreaming.

20. Nocturne

That scraping of iron on iron when the wind

rises, what is it? Something the wind won’t

quit with, but drags back and forth.

Sometimes faint, far, then suddenly, close, just

beyond the screened door, as if someone there

squats in the dark honing his wares against

my threshold. Half steel wire, half metal wing,

nothing and anything might make this noise

of saws and rasps, a creaking and groaning

of bone-growth, or body-death, marriages of rust,

or ore abraded. Tonight, something bows

that should not bend. Something stiffens that should

slide. Something, loose and not right,

rakes or forges itself all night.

21. Eating Together

In the steamer is the trout

seasoned with slivers of ginger,

two sprigs of green onion, and sesame oil.

We shall eat it with rice for lunch,

brothers, sister, my mother who will

taste the sweetest meat of the head,

holding it between her fingers

deftly, the way my father did

weeks ago. Then he lay down

to sleep like a snow-covered road

winding through pines older than him,

without any travelers, and lonely for no one.

22. I Ask My Mother to Sing

She begins, and my grandmother joins her.

Mother and daughter sing like young girls.

If my father were alive, he would play

his accordion and sway like a boat.

I’ve never been in Peking, or the Summer Palace,

nor stood on the great Stone Boat to watch

the rain begin on Kuen Ming Lake, the picnickers

running away in the grass.

But I love to hear it sung;

how the waterlilies fill with rain until

they overturn, spilling water into water,

then rock back, and fill with more.

Both women have begun to cry.

But neither stops her song.

23. This Hour and What Is Dead

Tonight my brother, in heavy boots, is walking

through bare rooms over my head,

opening and closing doors.

What could he be looking for in an empty house?

What could he possibly need there in heaven?

Does he remember his earth, his birthplace set to torches?

His love for me feels like spilled water

running back to its vessel.

At this hour, what is dead is restless

and what is living is burning.

Someone tell him he should sleep now.

My father keeps a light on by our bed

and readies for our journey.

He mends ten holes in the knees

of five pairs of boy’s pants.

His love for me is like his sewing:

various colors and too much thread,

the stitching uneven. But the needle pierces

clean through with each stroke of his hand.

At this hour, what is dead is worried

and what is living is fugitive.

Someone tell him he should sleep now.

God, that old furnace, keeps talking

with his mouth of teeth,

a beard stained at feasts, and his breath

of gasoline, airplane, human ash.

His love for me feels like fire,

feels like doves, feels like river-water.

At this hour, what is dead is helpless, kind

and helpless. While the Lord lives.

Someone tell the Lord to leave me alone.

I’ve had enough of his love

that feels like burning and flight and running away.

24. Immigrant Blues

People have been trying to kill me since I was born,

a man tells his son, trying to explain

the wisdom of learning a second tongue.

It’s an old story from the previous century

about my father and me.

The same old story from yesterday morning

about me and my son.

It’s called “Survival Strategies

and the Melancholy of Racial Assimilation.”

It’s called “Psychological Paradigms of Displaced Persons,”

called “The Child Who’d Rather Play than Study.”

Practice until you feel

the language inside you, says the man.

But what does he know about inside and outside,

my father who was spared nothing

in spite of the languages he used?

And me, confused about the flesh and the soul,

who asked once into a telephone,

Am I inside you?

You’re always inside me, a woman answered,

at peace with the body’s finitude,

at peace with the soul’s disregard

of space and time.

Am I inside you? I asked once

lying between her legs, confused

about the body and the heart.

If you don’t believe you’re inside me, you’re not,

she answered, at peace with the body’s greed,

at peace with the heart’s bewilderment.

It’s an ancient story from yesterday evening

called “Patterns of Love in Peoples of Diaspora,”

called “Loss of the Homeplace

and the Defilement of the Beloved,”

called “I want to Sing but I Don’t Know Any Songs.”

25. Arise, Go Down

It wasn’t the bright hems of the Lord’s skirts

that brushed my face and I opened my eyes

to see from a cleft in rock His backside;

it’s a wasp perched on my left cheek. I keep

my eyes closed and stand perfectly still

in the garden till it leaves me alone,

not to contemplate how this century

ends and the next begins with no one

I know having seen God, but to wonder

why I get through most days unscathed, though I

live in a time when it might be otherwise,

and I grow more fatherless each day.

For years now I have come to conclusions

without my father’s help, discovering

on my own what I know, what I don’t know,

and seeing how one cancels the other.

I've become a scholar of cancellations.

Here, I stand among my father’s roses

and see that what punctures outnumbers what

consoles, the cruel and the tender never

make peace, though one climbs, though one descends

petal by petal to the hidden ground

no one owns. I see that which is taken

away by violence or persuasion.

The rose announces on earth the kingdom

of gravity. A bird cancels it.

My eyelids cancel the bird. Anything

might cancel my eyes: distance, time, war.

My father said, Never take your both eyes

off of the world, before he rocked me.

All night we waited for the knock

that would have signalled, All clear, come now;

it would have meant escape; it never came.

I didn’t make the world I leave you with,

he said, and then, being poor, he left me

only this world, in which there is always

a family waiting in terror

before they’re rended, this world wherein a man

might arise, go down, and walk along a path

and pause and bow to roses, roses

his father raised, and admire them, for one moment

unable, thank God, to see in each and

every flower the world cancelling itself.

https://myinneredge.wordpress.com/2007/06/11/the-weight-of-sweetness/

Lee, Li-Young. 1990. The City in Which I Love You (Brockport, NY: BOA Editions, Ltd.)

http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/eating-alone/

Lee, Li-Young. 1995. The Winged Seed: A Rememberance (NY: Simon & Schuster)

Lee, Li-Young. 1986. Rose (Brockport, NY: BOA Editions, Ltd.)

Li-Young Lee, “The Hammock” from Book of My Nights. Copyright © 2001 by Li-Young Lee.

Li-Young Lee, “Mnemonic” from Rose. Copyright © 1986 by Li-Young Lee.

Li-Young Lee, “From Blossoms” from Rose. Copyright © 1986 by Li-Young Lee.

From Book of My Nights (BOA, 2001) by Li-Young Lee. Copyright © 2001. Appears with permission of BOA Editions, Ltd.

Li-Young Lee, "Mnemonic" from Rose. Copyright © 1986 by Li-Young Lee. Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc., on behalf of BOA Editions, Ltd., boaeditions.org.

From The City In Which I Love You by Li-Young Lee. Copyright © 1990 by Li-Young Lee. Reprinted with permission of BOA Editions, Ltd. All rights reserved.

From Book of My Nights, by Li-Young Lee

Li-Young Lee, “Little Father” from Book of My Nights. Copyright © 2001 by Li-Young Lee. Reprinted with the permission of BOA Editions, Ltd.

"One Heart" by Li-Young Lee from Book of My Nights, published by BOA Editions, Ltd. Copyright © 2001 by Li-Young Lee. Reprinted with the permission of the publisher.

from Behind My Eyes (W W Norton, 2008), copyright © 2008 by Li-Young Lee, used by permission of W W Norton & Company, Inc. - See more at: http://www.poetryarchive.org/poem/station#sthash.9X5KvLC0.dpuf

From Book of My Nights (BOA, 2001) by Li-Young Lee. Copyright © 2001. Appears with permission of BOA Editions, Ltd.

Li-Young Lee, “From Blossoms” from Rose. Copyright © 1986 by Li-Young Lee. Reprinted with the permission of BOA Editions Ltd., www.boaeditions.org.

“A Hymn to Childhood,” from Behind My Eyes by Li-Young Lee. Copyright © 2008 by Li-Young Lee. Used by permission of W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Li-Young Lee, “Falling: The Code” from Rose. Copyright © 1986 by Li-Young Lee. Reprinted with the permission of BOA Editions Ltd.

Li-Young Lee, “Nocturne” from Rose. Copyright © 1986 by Li-Young Lee. Reprinted with the permission of BOA Editions Ltd.

Li-Young Lee, “Eating Together” from Rose. Copyright © 1986 by Li-Young Lee. Reprinted with the permission of BOA Editions Ltd.

Poem copyright ©1986 by Li-Young Lee, whose most recent book of poems is Behind My Eyes, BOA Editions, Ltd., 2009. Poem reprinted by permission of Li-Young Lee and the publisher.

Li-Young Lee, “This Hour and What Is Dead” from The City in Which I Love You. Copyright © 1990 by Li-Young Lee. Reprinted with the permission of BOA Editions Ltd.

“Immigrant Blues,” from Behind My Eyes by Li-Young Lee. Copyright © 2008 by Li-Young Lee. Used by permission of W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Li-Young Lee, “Arise, Go Down” from The City in Which I Love You. Copyright © 1990 by Li-Young Lee. Reprinted with the permission of BOA Editions Ltd.

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