When You Talk to Me

I watch the words
      coming out
      from your mouth
interested
      less in content
      than in you
            your handling of it
            and its of you
I listen to expressions
      animating
      your features
hearing what
      you don’t voice
      echoes from
            sublingual spaces
            or somewhere else
            further inside
Would you prefer
      love
eyes and ears
      less resistant
      to conventional use

Shelly Bryant divides her year between Shanghai and Singapore, working as a teacher, writer, researcher, and translator. She is the author of two volumes of poetry, Cyborg Chimera and Under the Ash, and a travel guide to the city of Suzhou entitled Suzhou Basics. Her third volume of poetry, Voices of the Elders, and her travel memoir, The End Of The Line, are slated for release in 2012. Her most recent projects include writing an updated guide to the city of Shanghai for Urbanatomy and translating Sheng Keyi’s novel 《北妹》 (Northern Girls) for Penguin Books.

Shelly’s poetry has appeared in journals, magazines, and websites around the world, as well as in several art exhibitions, including dark ’til dawn, Things That Disappear, and Studio White • Exhibition 2011. You can visit her website at http://shellybryant.com.

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