A Romantic by Karen Au
post-template-default,single,single-post,postid-15923,single-format-standard,theme-bridge,bridge-core-2.7.0,everest-forms-no-js,woocommerce-no-js,qode-page-transition-enabled,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,columns-4,qode-theme-ver-25.5,qode-theme-bridge,disabled_footer_bottom,qode_header_in_grid,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-6.6.0,vc_responsive,elementor-default,elementor-kit-15238

A Romantic by Karen Au

A Romantic by Karen Au


I have recorded a love blind as faith

opaque and unwavering.

Love – she simmers out of sight while devotees

come to her doors.

They’ll call her forth: knees purple,

heads drawn to the floor reverently.

Rooted in rows as the play of sacrifice drones on at the altar,

an evisceration of self.

The blood splatters, dripping,

staining the church rust-brown, and it will flow

past the knees of the congregants, eyes sealed shut.

They pray fervently to be next, to be blessed, ended

by the rotten-toothed priest who sings her name coated with sugar,

amber and molasses-thick, lavishing her.


I have witnessed a love quiet as secrets,

closeted when the slats barring the window let in refracted

golden light. Let out during the witching hours when the stars

sparkle and insist on being seen, this love’s gentle caress

sweeps through your hair, coarse and matted,

to pull away with fingers laced with root-tipped strands.

She lies in bed smothering you,

reverberating hushed whispers, burdening you with her weight

as she settles to wrap you in her lips. She’ll melt

back into the shadows come dusk when the rosy tint of the nosy

sun invades your bed, awakening you with its prodding fingers.

But she’s not something you can forget. And come moonrise, she’ll slowly

asphyxiate you again and you’ll wake up confined.

You’ll die with her on your chest and you’ll pay her no mind.


I have been a love helpless as an infant

belly up, clawing at the sky with a skewed sense of clarity.

Feed me, spoon too wide,

stretching open smile muscles to practice their flexing.

My heart is man-made,

an irregular rhythm. The slightest falter cuts

off the blood supply and I turn blue and blind, blathering.

Spit bubbles at the corner of my crusted mouth,

so press your fingers into me, chest deep.

Feeling the cloying condensation,

wipe my brow and kiss the valley of my orbital bone.

Now dead, send me adrift and in the haze I will find

a compulsion to beat, add a chime and a mark

so that I hiccup a breath through the night, a restart.