Quinn Lui

in absentia

Previously published in Synaesthesia Magazine

truth is i (probably) loved you
but only in the way of burned silk
& crumpled paper cranes. only like
i taught myself every jeweled facet
of ruin first. this is what i always do.
i never learned how to praise a thing
without calling it perfect. this garden
is a corpse & beautiful with it, every bird’s
song a death knell. a funeral dirge.

i didn’t cry till we left the cemetery
& even then it was only for how
the dry rose petals undid themselves
into the wind. how the words
picked the gravel from their palms &
exhaled into sunday, then monday,
& sunday again until the forgetting.


all these different types of dreaming

mercury rises, an acrobat         pinned in glass. slits the air
with its borrowed        swallowed swords, parches the roots
            to magic powders. blows age off
the leaves silken in your fingers
            until they too bow down        to the unmaking. you
                        would never survive a high-wire act
                                                                                 like this.
you, the mirror, wondering                 if images can speak
of violence. you, the mirror, voiceless with dust
pooling in the hollows             of your knees. rainbow-hued
            in the sway of oil, the heat                  heavy
as roadside lifetime     or rockslide aftermath. with ankles
                        rolling over the uneven steps
                                                out your reflection-crafted house,
ligaments stretched like saltwater taffy. too soft to break
or bite through. not so for the ocean’s arms;              they
                                                                                 are shattered glass
            on the seashore, the only waves
that escaped the carnage         no more
than bursts of broiling air, savage
                                                in their solitude. give it time.
                        all this deep &                         dehydrated blue
will turn to a stone-frozen thing, the weight
            that transforms this season                  circular & cyclical,
deathless         & deadly.



Previously published in teething season for new skin (L’Éphémère Review, 2018)

this is a blood-sickness // inherited weakness // the grotto up north
            was ringed in teeth // but they did nothing // to stop the cliff divers
                        so i scraped my palms // in underground caves // with the little girl
            who rug-burns her elbows // on the bedroom floor // we shared for years
her hair spun so fine // that it halo-shocks // out of her wispy bangs
            and braids | her canines // jagged as icebergs // around the missing incisors
                        i’m hoping // all that seafoam-white // doesn’t go to waste | hoping
            someone’s fool enough // to shipwreck on that mouth // hoping she
picks her teeth clean // with the splinters // i gave my oldest name
            to a siren-child and she // wears it well | her eyes // already dark as cavity
                        her soul thrumming // with shark-sense // and every known flavour
            of monstrosity | as how // poltergeists have a habit // of nesting in cold sores
or how the grave-socket // of the excised tooth // now plays home
            to a ghoul | siren-child’s // blood matches the cold // melody of ours
                        she sleeps under the glint // of a cabochon-cut wave // and wants to know
if you too are yearning // for that home | wants to say // come home



Quinn Lui is a Chinese-Canadian student and writer with a fondness for bees and soft fabrics. They are the author of the micro-chapbook teething season for new skin (L’Éphémère Review, 2018) and, currently, an Associate Editor for Acta Victoriana. Their work has been published or is forthcoming in Luna Luna, Occulum, Half Mystic, and others. You can find them @flowercryptid on Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram.