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Deconstructing a Blueprint for Enemies to Lovers

CAS for Database

Joanna Liu

Lexington, Massachusetts, USA

Lexington High School


& a house boned by fire says: we aren’t

               supposed to be here. today, I screw you

into a bathroom light, pressing your palms

               on mine to show you the weathered threads of

my inheritance, homegrown fields where I scavenge

               for bruises & papercut wounds. c’mere,

you say. give it to me heavy-handed,

               give it ripe. I’d like to think that hurt feeds

off loving, that my mother’s century-egg soup

               hasn’t soured itself out—another face of me

you’ll never consume. we’ve come

               here too many times to stitch reopened

wounds, sweat dressing our skin like gilded

               bayonets. today, I’ll be the cowherd if

you are the hunter, both of us skinned

               into roles past recognition. neither of us

wants to grow into prey: distant, afraid, dead

               & behind us. its eyes braised with a life long

enough to know regret, but too short to tender

               you within it. today, you are a country I’ll never visit,

a homeland that fractured itself beyond

               my present tense. I hope you’ll see this before

I go: how I unhinged your jaw for safekeeping.

               how arms burn into daggers by the light.

how these walls have ruined us.


“Deconstructing a Blueprint for Enemies to Lovers” ebbs and flows as a piece, blending evocatively diasporic metaphors and uniquely stream-of-consciousness narration. Through the speaker’s intergenerational interactions, the reader wades through the delineation of the debilitating, volatile act of love–how loving will both recall the past and condemn the present, molding both parties “into roles past recognition.”

Joanna Liu is a writer from Lexington, Massachusetts. Her work has been recognized by the New York Times, the Alliance for Young Writers, and Bennington Young Writers Awards, among others. In her free time, she likes to take care of chickens and watch video essays on Youtube. You can find her on Twitter @cyoxyx.


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