Three Poems by Timothy Liu


The folks in masks
in Chinatown in early
February looked

paranoid. Don’t they
know the CDC said
to save the masks

for essential workers?
Stop hoarding N-95s!
In hindsight, they

were onto something
and it’s only mid-May.
No new infections

reported in Hong Kong
for weeks, their bars
and schools all open

for business again.
Now I can’t leave home
without one. Can’t

hook up in the woods
behind my house
without one on. It’s

safe and fun to watch
someone jerk off
more than six feet

away. He bent down
to get a closer look
at my cock, tempted

to rip both our masks
off, he said, no harm
done! Worked himself

up into a frenzy but
couldn’t quite come!
I wasn’t disappointed

at first, process over
product, even if things
had a way for going

on too long. I never
got to see what his
mouth looked like in

the Year of the Rat.
Metal Rat to be exact.
Tell me if you can

name five elements
belonging to the lunar
calendar’s sixty year

cycle. I’m a Wood
Snake, nice to meet
you, and you’re either

a Water Dog or a Fire
Horse! Let’s get some
curbside pickup takeout

before this offer expires. 


Your almost albino
one-eyed runt

found face down

in a basement
where neighbors

under lockdown

had been Zooming in
on a Klan rally

while outside

the great pandemic
surged on—

all the city morgues

backed up
with zip-locked

stroke mags found

collecting dust
in the rusted-out bed

of a guzzler

some were finding
a hard time

to unload—


Locked out
of my savings


when what I 
needed to

see was if

you actually
paid back

what you owed

before the run
on masks

had begun—

Timothy Liu‘s latest book is LET IT RIDE (Saturnalia Books, 2019). A reader of occult esoterica, he lives in Manhattan and Woodstock, NY.