reverse guide to reintegration

Poetry

by Quinn Lui

what damns him is not that he does not apologize,

because he does; it’s just that he’s never meant sorry

the way anyone else does in his life; he says it as hello,

as good morning, as absolve me; what damns him 

is that he doesn’t even say i’m sorry it happened,

but i’m sorry you forgot, as if you could’ve set 

a time and place for this kind of thing, as if he’d had 

a dull-eyed secretary with too-long nails to set up

an appointment with you; what damns you both

is that he is being gentle, or thinks he is, and 

in the back of your throat a dead-sick taste manages

to recognize it; it’s how bewildered the offering is,

how unused he is to this wounded-animal treatment 

he’s giving you, as if you’re some woodland creature 

who darted across the perfectly safe, perfectly legal 

trajectory of his life, as if you surprised him somehow 

and you’re paying out your mouth for your own mistake

and he’s only sorry in an abstract way, like he knows

it’s what he should be feeling but he feels nothing

at all; what damns you is that even after all this, 

you still haven’t realized that something’s wrong

Quinn Lui is a Chinese-Canadian student who is easily bribed by soup dumplings or pictures of bees. Their work has appeared in Occulum, Synaesthesia Magazine, Half Mystic, and elsewhere, and they are the author of the micro-chapbook teething season for new skin (L’Éphémère Review, 2018). You can find them @flowercryptid on Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram, or wherever the moon is brightest.   

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