“When I Imagine All the Possibilities of the Swarm”

A Poem by Muriel Leung

May 12, 2021  By Muriel Leung

Suppose there is an end to our suffering. Like a chariot,
the absence of grief circles us with the obstinate heat
of the largest star. To believe in the radiant orbit of this fire.
To face an empty cup and find the constellated mire of you
and me and the toppling of a century. We rise from the painful
corridors of a life. Rarely did we dream of planetary rings,
and yet, tilting ourselves up, we see the heavenly bodies
of all that has passed, each one bright with surrender.
We can go on. We can dress ourselves in the celestial cloak
of this wide expanse, every woman and femme and the disorder
of the peal. I will never write another elegy again.
I am looking at you now in the acceleration of time.
All the possibilities of the swarm ignite. The humming of many
wings amassing into a greater noise. We can write our origins
sacred here and renounce the country of our fear.
There is only our singular pulse when we fill the sky.


Imagine Us, The Swarm by Muriel Leung

Excerpted from Imagine Us, The Swarm by Muriel Leung. Reprinted with permission of the publisher, Nightboat Books. Copyright © 2021 by Muriel Leung. 

Muriel Leung
Muriel Leung
Muriel Leung is the author of Imagine Us, The Swarm, forthcoming from Nightboat Books and Bone Confetti, winner of the 2015 Noemi Press Book Award. She is the Poetry Co-Editor of Apogee Journal. She also co-hosts The Blood-Jet Writing Hour podcast with Rachelle Cruz and MT Vallarta. She is a member of Miresa Collective, a feminist speakers bureau. An Andrew W. Mellon Humanities in a Digital World Fellow, she is completing her PhD in Creative Writing and Literature at the University of Southern California. She is from Queens, NY.

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