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Poetry Collection: Stations of Summer, Apart

I: “Sky to Sea, Sea to Sky”

Deep indigo,

Alit with yesterday’s stars.

Slowly, the pale azure brushes upward,

A breath is held with care…

And all is light again.

Stifled and etched,

Words dancing along the heart,

Wreathing together,

Like fallen leaves that twirl upward

To caress and re-attach themselves

To wayward veins that seem to flicker from beneath, from below.

There, the hand is held.

Sunbeams prick the closed eyes,

Which nonetheless know the sheet of paleness

Intercepting strands of cloud.

Even the trees, which cross the roads of sky,

Cannot reach her with their branches.


I watch,

I listen,

As a leaf cuts through water

Like a bird’s clipped wing.


Moonlit Sky
Original photo by Gillian Xu

II: “Still and Stillness”


My hand presses against another old spine.

Moving on? Not yet.

A warmth spreads slowly, quietly, afraid to disturb

Me, Them, Us.

Fiery lights dart to and fro

As my eyes catch titles with a blink, a shutter.

Feet shuffling yet hands refuse. Division.


Sheets rustling. They breathe,


Grey, wistful faeries flit above hidden paths,

Sweeping dust away for words to grow.

One glance, afar.

A shadow hangs over the staircase of books.

A shadow that searches for me with a piercing, hollow gaze.

A shadow that I cannot decipher

Yet feel so safe with.

It fades before I can speak.


The walls inch toward me;

They threaten to constrict me.

But I know.

Before my last breath,

The rows flee back, and I am standing alone

Again. Exhale.


Dust swirls into hidden creases.

A suffocating, last dance.

The spine tickles my fingertips.

Footsteps quicken.

I sigh.

Wrinkling papers and brows.

The bell brushes my senses with dull, golden paint.

But I am still not here.

Woman Wearing Brown Shirt Carrying Black Leather Bag on Front of Library Books
Abby Chung

III: “In-Word”

A song that catches my throat,

Gentle vibrations afloat.

The small hand that reaches toward me,

To close my eyes, to quell my heart’s tempest,

Why are you translucent,

Like the weathered wing of a silken butterfly?

I let a breath inside, but it gets caught within the

Thorns that trail across the tender pinions

Of ossified birds.

Another one. This time the roses entangle the Spirit

In their web. Paralyzed, yet, flitting.

I try to meditate, to contemplate, to know.

But how can I, when I am both

I and I?

Two selves trying to unite,

Until the sword slices the darkening sky.

A blazing red fire burns from the dissolving blade,

Falling into rows of hourglasses

That stretch into the recesses of

Mind. Everything burns. . .

As ash rains down from

A cloudless Heaven.

woman looking at the trees in front of the sun
Photo by Leon Biss from Unsplash

Gillian Xu

McGill '21

Gillian Xu is in her final year of the English Literature Honours program at McGill, where she cultivates her interest in British and American Romanticism--with a focus on William Blake--ecocriticism and science, as well as intersensory creation processes. Apart from academics, she writes poetry about nature and the psyche, sketches and paints sporadically, and finds new ways of experimenting with fashion.
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