persons Kelli and Nicholas Christian, poem

Kelli and Nicholas Christian are internationally published poets and fiction writers. They currently live in Changchun, China teaching literature and rhetoric. When not working on their next full-length collections, they spend their evenings watching Cutthroat Kitchen with their two cats, Sharkbait and RV Winkle.


Even Hutongs have their Minotaur

There are fourteen balls of twine
between your calf and Crete.
A man unrolls each into one
language—exile means never
sleeping. Every night the smith pounds
flesh for silver just before the sun
tucks ash into sea. Misshaped, the old
feet know the story of our ugly labor.

When we ask the monster to bow
his head, it is necessary to consider
that prayer is not without tariff.
What is in him is in us, this difficulty—
amber-cast—preserves the builder’s plans.
Lemon trees planted in the morning
say this way, and by night? Dark ripens

the fruit into a double wind. Friends, hearts
are wood and sail. Our cupped palms, laden,
take water, still salty, from boat to mouth.