Home > Poetry > Elegy for a Poet Whose Books I Didn’t Think Were Worth Re-reading, Not Until Now
Published: Thu Jul 1 2010
Diego Isaias Hernández Méndez, Convertiendse en Characoteles / Sorcerers Changing into Their Animal Forms (detail), 2013, oil on canvas. Arte Maya Tz’utujil Collection.
Elegy for a Poet Whose Books I Didn’t Think Were Worth Re-reading, Not Until Now

for D. D.

Say she leapt from the bleachers,
that the second poem in her first book
is called “The Law of Falling Bodies,”
the same book’s fourth-to-last poem
called “For Sylvia Plath,” and it would all
be true. Say every second of the day,
the world must come to an end
for someone. Say she lost hope, gained
weight after being abandoned by whomever
she loved, her children also grown
and gone. Say it was mere coincidence
she chose Good Friday to make the leap
from this world into whatever world
comes next—”The Transmigration of Souls”
& “Brides of Christ” also from that book
published more than two decades back
where death’s seed had possibly
already been sown, a book that got me
less than a dollar when I sold it back,
not thinking I’d ever need to open it
again, not until she drove her car
to the stadium parking lot at my
alma mater and simply disappeared
without anyone taking notice—her body
“perfected” when the field-hockey girls
stumbled upon it after practice, likely
to have never read a single line
she ever wrote, this copy in my hand
a discard from the Cook Memorial Library
in Libertyville, Illinois, which I secured
for the lowest price online—this clothbound
unsigned first edition with all the “usual”
markings—the list of Due-Date stamps
shorter than anyone would have liked—

Timothy Liu, also known as Liu Ti Mo, is the author of Polytheogamy (Saturnalia Press, 2009); Bending the Mind Around the Dream’s Blown Fuse (Talisman House, 2009); For Dust Thou Art (Southern Illinois University Press, 2005); Of Thee I Sing (2004), selected by Publishers Weekly as a 2004 Book-of-the-Year; Hard Evidence (2001); Say Goodnight (1998); Burnt Offerings (1995); and Vox Angelica (1992), which won the Poetry Society of America’s Norma Farber First Book Award. Translated into nine languages, Liu’s poems have appeared in such places as Best American Poetry, Bomb, Grand Street, AGNI Online, Kenyon Review, The Nation, New American Writing, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, Poetry and Virginia Quarterly Review. Liu is currently an Associate Professor at William Paterson University and on the Core Faculty at Bennington College’s Writing Seminars. (updated 7/2009)

Liu’s Vox Angelica was reviewed in AGNI 39 by Christopher Davis.

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