Two Poems
Preventative Medicine

It’s not that I’m averse to having my
nipples squeezed, or that I distrust
the plastic expertise of strangers.

She does it deftly, telling me to get all the
calcium I need by twenty seven.
I am to inspect myself every month

because small changes begin
a small, hungry death.  My
longevity her first concern,

she does it all through gloves and then takes
off the gloves, bone-white fingers
caressing themselves under running water.

We Would Have Washed Away

The first night we camped in a parking lot and set out early,
despite the warning signs, despite the rush of summer’s
last snow raking the mountains.
She looks younger than my father, so it’s not the growing
old that’s disconcerting. In the sequence we project,
my mother is my time machine, so I don’t like looking
at her calves and knees above her boots.
We walked all day under the August sun
until we reached the river where the bridge was out.
She crossed on a fallen log, and I crossed on a fallen log
downstream, as if I could catch her.
JENNIFER LIOU is teaching and working towards an PhD at UC Irvine, where she received an MFA in creative writing/poetry in 2008.  Her work has recently appeared in journals including Faultline, The Orange Coast Review, and Evergreen Review.