Reasons I Am a Liar

I give myself up some days, evidenced

in the bruises under my eyes

placed there by the night, in hollow voice,

in tears.


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.

Emeline Liu

Originally appeared in the 2010-2011 edition of Outside In