Via Lido and the Sky Woman

Turning onto Via Lido to the left

salt air greets us before the ocean shakes
every alley —

Yachts move in early morning stillness
svelte as gulls

on the water by the beachside shops.
The boutiques are not open.

Art gallery bedazzled
with shards of soda glass —

a theatre with marquee lights
is mum.

I look at the names of boats —
a misplaced list.

Only remember the word, naught.
In hindsight, the island named Lido — shore
in Italian,

moved, unmoored – a floating isle
like the one in Iroquois lore
where the Sky Woman,

drawn to a hole made by an uprooted
tree of light,

falls through.


Karen An-hwei Lee is the author of Phyla of Joy (Tupelo 2012), Ardor (Tupelo 2008) and In Medias Res (Sarabande 2004), winner of the Norma Farber First Book Award. Lee is also the author of two chapbooks, God’s One Hundred Promises (Swan Scythe 2002) and What the Sea Earns for a Living (Quaci Press 2014). Her book of literary criticism, Anglophone Literatures in the Asian Diaspora: Literary Transnationalism and Translingual Migrations (Cambria, 2013), was selected for the Cambria Sinophone World Series. She earned an MFA from Brown University and PhD in English from the University of California, Berkeley. The recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Grant, she serves as Full Professor of English and Chair at a small liberal arts college in greater Los Angeles, where she is also a novice harpist. Lee is a member of the National Book Critics Circle.

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