Valentines: “Mercy” by Lilian Caylee Wang


bear the gods who spun eden into immaculate decay
the benevolent rot of living 
passing by the scenic route 
shield your gaze from the bright sands 
and the storm at the end of rainbows. 

bear the gods who wordlessly
carry wisps of a woman’s grief 
through willows and glistening 
bone-white tombstones 
as if it can never be enough. 

the universe is poised on a tattered hope
on the world-wise smiles of Las Cruces 
and the royal skies of Truth or Consequences 
where among eternal hot springs 
a man-made lake lays on its side 
and stretches elephant long 
where David Parker Ray 
drowned his cold bodies 
where they bear the gods. 

there is no line in our rush for gold
no matter the quakes of our angels 
or the flowering of our beasts 
no matter how much betrayal we swallow
or how high we look. 
instead bear the gods 
who make their quiet mistakes 
who insist on sacrifice 
for shallow breaths, for ligaments 
for cake in the black of night. 

i eat my bitterness with faith 
and sweet clotted cream 
take it with stalks of sugarcane 
every time trying to recapture 
that first taste 
on a reservoir in Lake Havasu City
where i realized 
love is merely mortal. 

i drink despair down
with lavender wine and burning ambrosia honey
the smoke leaks from my eyes 
covets the giant’s staircase
and the blood 
that bears the gods. 

i wonder if there is such thing as cloudless grace
or if you’ve got me on my knees. 

About Lilian Caylee Wang

Black and white portrait of Lilian Caylee Wang of her looking directly at the camera with a slight but confident smile.

Lilian Caylee Wang won a writing contest as a five-year-old in Tennessee. Since then, her work has been published in the New York Times, McSweeney’s, The Huffington Post, Whetstone Magazine, sPARKLE & bLINK, Black Fox Literary Magazine, Solstice Literary Magazine, Five Points, and more. She lives in LA with her partner and her puppy.