Étude | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Drawing by Stephen James Ferris, recto. Herr Storck's Hands, 1879.

Lotuses unfolding
into dreamfish,
slurrying into
queer failure:
how the
fails me
(or have I
failed the
vine and
too untrained
for even fingering,
too feral
for firmness
against paper
that may wish
to tiger

But the lesson
is in drawing
value out
of shadows,
brave listening
to gestures
in their palaces,
silken to their
own private

Travis Chi Wing Lau (he/him/his) is an assistant professor of English at Kenyon College where he teaches 18th- and 19th-century British literature and culture, health humanities, and disability studies. His poetry has appeared in numerous magazinesas well as in two chapbooks, The Bone Setter (Damaged Goods Press, 2019) and Paring (Finishing Line Press, 2020).
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