Objective Practice
by Mia You
cover art by Mia You and Floris Tilanus


The moment we call civil twilight
is when the center of the sun
lies six degrees below
the furthest line we can see.

At six degrees burglary
becomes a lesser crime,
and from the creases of cerulean
escapes a symphony of jays.
They beat the night like crystal
carillons shattering against
the counterpoint of a solitary grackle.

If I could believe your heart
was only metaphor,
I might ignore the slow expansion
of white across the Northeast sky
and the faint caress of melody

Heute wirst du mit mir im Paradies sein.

I would lie here still in this half-death
and recall the slow setting of the day
when a cloud of black sparrows
claimed our sky
with nothing more
than the fluttering of wings
against your quickened breath.

Mia You was born in Seoul, Korea, and was raised in Northern California. Currently a doctoral student in English literature at UC Berkeley, she received a Bachelor's Degree in English at Stanford University and a Master's Degree in East Asian studies at Harvard University. She has worked as a journalist, publishing articles in The San Jose Mercury News and The Korea Herald, and as a translator of Korean poetry. She has also helped translate and edit film scripts, taught for the film studies department at Harvard, and interned at the Amsterdam Filmmuseum. In 2004, designer Thorsten Kiefer made an art book of her poems, entitled YOU, which has been displayed in a number of exhibitions, and part of her current work-in-progress, Successions, can be viewed at Counterpath Online.