Author photo by Michelle Chung
Karen An-hwei Lee is the author of Phyla of Joy (Tupelo 2012), Ardor (Tupelo 2008) and In Medias Res (Sarabande 2004), winner of the Norma Farber First Book Award. Lee also wrote two chapbooks, God's One Hundred Promises (Swan Scythe 2002) and What the Sea Earns for a Living (Quaci Press 2014). Her book of literary criticism, Anglophone Literatures in the Asian Diaspora: Literary Transnationalism and Translingual Migrations (Cambria 2013), was selected for the Cambria Sinophone World Series. She earned an M.F.A. from Brown University and Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Berkeley. The recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Grant, Lee is a voting member of the National Book Critics Circle. She lives in San Diego.
December 28, 2016
Epithalamium on Peau de Soie
A butter-pear utters this phrase
over and again. Sealed —
Sealed. What is true
on her shoulder as a pin,
sheer as pea-colored silk, kudzu paper,
Use a breathable garment bag,
skin. Four-acre field of roses
on the boulevard. Flared gown
of a thousand dollars, bias cut —
the sky pays cold cash in blue, off-rack.
Silk bustle. Peau de soie,
not pear. Mother-in-law, the orchard,
frets about a tattoo. Seal
the wounds of love onto flesh,
away from coddling moths
or beetles drilling
sinuous galleries in the groove.
Peau de soie translates as "silk skin" from French. A fabric often used in wedding dresses, peau de soie is also commonly known as "matte satin" or "duchess satin." The epithalamium plays upon the near-homographs, "peau" and "pear."
Glass: A Journal of Poetry is published weekly by Glass Poetry Press.
All contents © the author.