Author: Vi Khi Nao

Vi Khi Nao is the author of four poetry collections—“Human Tetris” (11:11 Press, 2019) “Sheep Machine” (Black Sun Lit, 2018), “Umbilical Hospital” (1913 Press, 2017), “The Old Philosopher” (winner of the Nightboat Prize for 2014)—and of the short-story collection “A Brief Alphabet of Torture” (winner of the 2016 FC2 Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Prize) and the novel “Fish in Exile” (Coffee House Press, 2016). Her work includes poetry, fiction, film, and cross-genre collaboration. She was the Fall 2019 fellow at the Black Mountain Institute and her website is

Every Dress Is a Simile


The Woman I Love  
Language Is Everything  
Every Dress Is A Simile  
I Can’t Hurry Time For You  
Your Ego  
An Opposition  
My Baby  
Infinity Is A Clock  
I Am Evergreen  
There Isn’t Much Immortality Left In Me  
Kim’s Milk Refrigerator  
I Am Your Lungs  
Where Is A Place Without Photosynthesis?  
Poems Born from Basic Words  
A Conversation Between Two Trees  
Love Has Made You Disappear A Little  



The woman I love has endless
Compassion for me
Yet in the middle of the night
I left her and life for death
There was infinite discord in my soul
Infinite conjunction of pain
And, blissfully I hung my neck
From a modern day cypress
And the young emboldened leaves
Not mulched in their fortuitous youth
Screamed in tumultuous calamity
From their verdant height
Had confused me for a dying leaf
Had waited so patiently for me
Not to exfoliate from a branch in life
When my neck broke into two
In response to the weight of gravity
Against my neck
They thought an inner twig
Inside them had separated
A blade of photosynthesis from
An artery of time
Where I hung the air was endless
And youthful and the wind wore
A cape of made of northern zephyr
While flying high and low
Around my hair and teeth and feet
Making my cheeks flutter
Turning my blouse into a river
Of silk and threads
A day later when I defoliated
With the help of a tall ladder
Soft and firm hands
My lifeless body once again returned
To earth to dream of soil
Made to decompose a life
That had spent most of its
Days in grief and disbelief
I suppose time could take
A long walk with me
By the river of death
I suppose it is never
Too late to hold life’s hand
Briefly while the sun comes
Down from that mountain
Before letting her go
Into a city designed for ruins
I am so capable of loving
Life back
I am so capable
Yet I think why love ?
When I could succumb
Easily to dirt which
Has all the nutrition to
Sustain a new life
A different kind of existence
Not composed entirely
Of fractured hopelessness
And summer rain made
From the thawed out
Heartbeats of winter



In a matrimony between  two letters
A & A ( Aida Alba)
In  ex-conjugal bond  between four
A B C D (Ashley Benson Cara Delevingne )
Lesbian powercouples dominate the first few four letters of the alphabet
No need to speculate
Even sapphic alphabets get not tethered to
The alliance  of
E D  &  P d R
Even in a blender of J F  A H  (Jodie Foster Alexandra Hedison)
And so  on  and so forth  the mergers
J S  M V H  ( Jenny Shimizu Michelle Violy Harper)
L M   SW (Lauren Morelli Samira Wiley)
S A    M  L V   (Seimone Augustus  Michelle LaTaya Varner)
TN   S A   (Tig Notaro Sephanie Allynne )
We all know  a lot about the Supreme  Court
That sits on the throne between gender & desire
History   & language
Each  other  sapphic syllabary
Signary   of  tongues, cunts, sexy legs,  an umbrella of pubic  art
Icons  of  female deities
We all do not want  statue  nor  portrait  feminal  misrepresentation
Soft     tender    delicate
Discourses  of  shared  dykehood  universality
In a community  of  words  & letters & dyslexia
AC  AC  because only lesbians & language  need  air conditioner
Because  it is too hot
Click that letter  as you click your tongue



Every breath is a metaphor
Every smile is a symbol
Every finger is a personification
Every gaze is a hyperbole
Every hunt is an alliteration
Every exaggeration is an onomatopoeia
Every despair is an idiom
Every speaker is an imagery

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