Xiaoly Li

Love Genes
by Xiaoly Li


Structural variants in genes associated with human Williams-Beuren syndrome underlie stereotypical hypersociability in domestic dogs
— Bridgett M. vonHoldt, etc.

They say you are born with Love Genes—
love so innocent, unwavering.

You greet me as if a long lost lover. You toss around
a dried sweet potato in the air before basking in its flavor.

You bounce, poke, yowl at a sea stone, shake your head as you play.
Each leaf, each grass, each mail box pole, each fire hydrant—

your roses to sniff. The language of your eyes,
never judgmental.

I answer your little cry as if catching a firefly.
I sing you a lullaby; you fall into a good night.

As I dive into each moment of your Being,
I ponder why humans are challenged,

born with the syndrome? And what takes us
to love without Love Genes? I wonder

how many silent cries of His eluded my ears?
How many long nights She missed my lullaby?


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 23, Issue 3.

Xiaoly LiXiaoly Li is a poet, photographer and 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 Boston, often accompanies her poems. Her poetry is forthcoming or has recently appeared in Spillway, American Journal of Poetry, PANK, Atlanta Review, Chautauqua, Rhino, Cold Mountain Review, J Journal and elsewhere; and in several anthologies. She has been nominated for Best of the Net twice, Best New Poets, and a Pushcart Prize. 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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