Shirley Geok-lin Lim

December before Dawn

The year is ending:
early light in late season.
I am pushing it along,
impatient for its ending,
awake before days begin:
cycle in the pea-grit brain
off-cycle, cycle in life
off-kilter, waiting
for the future to kick in.


Kuan Yin in California

To bring Kuan Yin to California
I did not need ghost money nor joss.
Not altar cloths, sutras, silk embroidered
shoes. The pure eye seizes the image,
near set a heart that asks for images.

Ask and it will be given. To lose,
giving and losing bound like anything,
like man and woman, and nothing,
Zero and Infinite.
                            Where the Goddess
of Mercy born in China, transgendered
from a living Buddha, lifts the jar
of Compassion, I stay thirsty
here in the land of milk and honey.


Shirley Geok-lin Lim is an advisory editor of Anacapa Review. Her newest collection, Dawns Tomorrow, will be released in January. She is the author of 11 poetry collections, a memoir, 3 novels, The Shirley Lim Collection, 3 story collections, 2 critical studies, and is editor/co-editor of over 18 anthologies and journal special issues. Her poetry is widely anthologized and has been published in The Hudson Review, Feminist Studies, Virginia Quarterly Review, etc., featured by Bill Moyers, Tracey K. Smith’s Slowdown, and set to music as libretto.