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About this Poem 

"'Holding Pattern' is a meditation on separations, reunions, and of course that sweet frustration of delay that comes with circling and circling before making the final landing. Perhaps all love affairs are conducted long-distance, whether locations and/or circumstances separate the fated lovers."
—Timothy Liu

Holding Pattern


Intermittent wet under
cloud cover, dry
where you are. All day
this rain without

you—so many planes
above the cloud line
carrying strangers
either closer or

farther away from
one another while
you and I remain
grounded. Are we

moving anyway
towards something
finer than what the day
might bring or is this

an illusion, a stay 
against everything
unforeseen—tiny bottles
clinking as the carts

make their way down
the narrow aisle
no matter what
class we find ourselves

seated in, your voice
the captain's voice
even if the masks
do not inflate

and there's no one
here to help me
put mine on first—
my head cradled

between your knees.

Copyright © 2014 by Timothy Liu. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on February 19, 2014. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Copyright © 2014 by Timothy Liu. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on February 19, 2014. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Timothy Liu

Timothy Liu

Timothy Liu (Liu Ti Mo) is the author of Luminous Debris: New & Selected Legerdemain 1992-2017 (Barrow Street Books, 2018), among other books.

by this poet

poem
A room walled-in by books where the hours withdraw.


At the foot of an unmade bed a bird of paradise.


Motel carpet melted where an iron had been.


His attention anchored to a late night glory hole.


Of janitorial carts no heaviness like theirs.


Desire seen cavorting with the yes inside the no.


A soul
poem

The Lindt Easter bunny

you said was “solid”
chocolate turned out

to be hollow—its head

caved in when I peeled
back the gold foil

which was probably

better left wrapped,
every language having

its own version of “beer

goggles.” Sometimes
I like your mouth

poem
Hard to imagine getting
anywhere near another semi-
nude encounter down this concrete
slab of interstate, the two of us
all thumbs—

white-throated swifts mating mid-flight
instead of buckets of
crispy wings thrown down
hoi polloi—
an army of mouths

eager to feed
left without any lasting sustenance.
Best get