"Reasons I Am a Liar" by Emeline Liu
I give myself up some days, evidenced
in the bruises under my eyes
placed there by the night, in hollow voice,
In my lacking I am a captor.
I hold hapless words between my lips
and swallow them. In my stomach
there are roiling alphabets
to be teased out in subtle strings
and stitched onto the end of each breath.
My words are chimaeras of spit and air
and other people’s quiet sentiments
that I have stolen out of their mouths,
off of their papers.
I am an emotional ventriloquist. I read faces
like books, secret away information when no one’s looking.
In the darkness I have no abject fears.
I am here first for want of words,
here for sentence fragments and slip-ups
that echo off the walls of my skull,
each wavelength another fracture,
here because every word falling out of my mouth
is just one more droplet in this collective puddle of lies.
Press your lips against the water.
I promise the ocean will never swallow you alive.
Originally appeared in the 2010-2011 edition of Outside In