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Clade Song 4

This Too Shall Pass

You think of the time
a stranger put his

fingers inside of you
at the back of a bus,

smearing a little blood
on the seat next to yours

when he got off—a man
who didn't even ask

your name. No one talks
about what lingers on

in the mind after such
encounters for the first

and last time, whether
the moments went faster

or slower than either
had wanted, only knowing

it's more than over.

Timothy Liu Timothy Liu was born in San Jose, California. He is the author of Polytheogamy (Saturnalia, 2009); Bending the Mind Around the Dream’s Blown Fuse (Talisman House, 2009); For Dust Thou Art (Southern Illinois University Press, 2005); Of Thee I Sing (University of Georgia Press, 2004), selected by Publishers Weekly as a 2004 Book-of-the-Year; Hard Evidence (Talisman House, 2001); Say Goodnight (Copper Canyon Press, 1998); Burnt Offerings (Copper Canyon Press, 1995); and Vox Angelica (Alice James Books, 1992), which won the Poetry Society of America’s Norma Farber First Book Award. Liu’s honors and awards include a Pushcart Prize, Best American Poetry in 2002, and the Open Book Beyond Margins Award. He also edited Word of Mouth: An Anthology of Gay American Poetry, (Talisman House, 2000). He has served as a core faculty member at Bennington College’s Writing Seminars, and is currently an associate professor at William Paterson University. He lives in Manhattan.