Christmas Eve power outage, wind heaving like a throat. My body never ends. Traffic ribs the street, an orange omen. Any cavity is a keyhole. I lock my eyes. In this dim, the house is anyone’s. No red calendars, miniature Buddhas, painted money plants. No mercy in spite of touch. Someone in the world is dying. Like light. It’ll pass. Down the power lines, a beating cavern of bats. I want to drift like dark through the blinds, like gills, gasping & muscled.I want to love a jammed signal. The clarity of calamity, mirrors,bluescreen. It’s hard to say where anyone will land: the direction of bonfire smoke, the misdirection of moons bowling over our roofs. Countries kiss each other’s eyelids, islands. A gust of good night. Leafless trees in love. Somewhere the world is still. It’ll pass.
Advice from Co-Star
My horoscope says: full disclosure, ripe fruit, long kiss.
Instead I am an unkissable green strawberry. Briefly still.
At the family reunion, I whet my hands over the surface of the ice
chest. Tsingtao beer caps like gold gunshot wounds. Full
disclosure, my family estrangement is so cliché
that it embarrasses me to describe it. A bowl
of frozen mangos approaches. We will never talk enough
about time. The mangos thaw & the sky today
has no depth. I ford my relatives like a branch
brittling. Full disclosure, I’ve never wanted
to be this close to death. Enough is a kiss
on the cheek. My grandfather still saves joke wrappers.
My mother still kneads the mangos before first bite.
I spent years jumping ship, promising to never return
to these backroads. This bottlenecked house. But here is the twine
that veins the tomato garden. Here is the ruptured fly screen.
The print of two deadlocked cyclers, the sister who ripped out
her hair. Full disclosure. I still want my kin to recall me
from the cliff. To plant me like a flag,
a ripe kiss. O, how the living grace me. How easy
the mangos defrost, how silent my hands
skim over the ice.
Mackenzie Duan is a highschooler from the Bay Area. Their work appears or is forthcoming in Vagabond City Lit, Frontier Poetry, Electric Literature, and elsewhere.