self portrait in vivo


                                      into sunlight

                                                                      the innermost
                                                            of an orchid

           splays in

                                                                                            opens to light

                                                                               what to reflect
                                                                                        what to let pass

                                                                     if you don’t
                                                                     this rainbow
                                                  come around


                                     the angle
                                  of my eyes

                                                     like sunlight

                                                                                 I could be
                                                                         a grain of sand

                                                                                               as glass

                                                            if you
                                                     brusque your way
                                                               from a sharp angle

                                                              you might

                                       of the mimosa

                          hold your palm

 there can be warmth
                                                                         you are radiant
                without touch                                          I say

                                                    I harvest
                                                        what I can

                                                                                   show me
                                                                                       the warmth
                                                                                   in you

                                    you                                                                  force

                                                                  you begin

                                this kindling
                                                   body                 needs no fuse
                                                                                   to light itself
                                                         from within





kwongBonnie Wai-Lee Kwong is a poet and playwright who creates in many mediums and languages: English, Cantonese, Mandarin, Japanese, ruby, and javascript. She wrote the poem “self portrait in vivo” after visits to the nanophotonics research group of Jennifer Dionne at Stanford University. Her play Liriope is to be staged at Stanford University as a culmination of her artist’s residency. Her first poetry collection, ravel, was a finalist for the Many Voices Project (New Rivers Press) and the White Pine Press Poetry Prize. Her poetry and fiction have garnered a number of Pushcart nominations.