“Across the Pacific from My Family” by Xiaoly Li1 min read

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Illustration by Karla Monterrosa

I sit alone in a college lab
writing software code
to solve a jigsaw puzzle.
An exercise in
parallel processing.

I hear my own fingers
tap the cold keyboard.
Overtime erodes my bones.

Midnight, I step out into
the hilltop pine silhouette.
Droplets graze my face.
The street lights haze below.
Snow flowers sway in the wind
like silver ribbons
in a Yangge folk dance.

More gentle than a murmur,
yet powerful as thunder
the sound of snow
immerses me boundless
in all directions.

Xiaoly Li is a poet, photographer and former computer engineer who lives in Massachusetts. Prior to writing poetry, she published stories in a selection of Chinese newspapers. Her photography, which has been shown and sold in galleries in the Boston, often accompanies her poems. Her poetry is forthcoming in J Journal and Up the River
and appeared in Off The Coast and Gravel. She currently studies poetry with Barbara Helfgott Hyett. Xiaoly received her Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Masters in computer science and engineering from Tsinghua University in China.

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