Poetry No. 55 – Haolun Xu

Line Segments, Counting


The spaces defined & between them.
Each calculation divides the other,
running the gambit into place.


In another world, the pestilence reached us first.
They looked like deathwatch beetles.
This time, you could see them, & the way they grew, disgusted people.
In another world, the organism grew longer, thinner.
It fed differently & with more dexterity.
This one was called a parasite.
It swam in the water, & even boiling it didn’t work.

In this world, plague instead.
We rested on the laurels of politics &
when the lies gave in we sank with them.
The virus was named after the shape of a crown on its molecules.
We were forced to stay inside for entire months
because people wouldn’t stop
touching each other. It killed slowly, & attacked the lungs.
The elderly & the doctors died first, & we laughed for a long while.
Those who loved others were punished the hardest.


In a distant world, there was a mold.
It grew quicker than any other structure & killed in hours.
We don’t have any correspondence there,
& even the children were not spared.
It even ravaged the plants, covering the geology.
We won’t think about this one, mainly because there isn’t much to say.



Haolun Xu was born in Nanning, China. He immigrated to the United States in 1999. He was raised in central New Jersey and recently graduated from Rutgers University.

© Haolun Xu

Photo Credit:  © bluraz / Adobe Stock