Z.O. fiction

19 08 2015

I could have spent the rest of my days walking home from school with you in those twilit summer hours when the earth kept us warm with its radiant heat, fitting my fingers into your wide-knuckled hands.

Tall and whipthin, you cast a shadow over me as we walked. East of you, I would pull the mantle of your shadow around my bare, freckled shoulders. Happy. Happy beyond the realm of reason or rhyme.

But time slinks and expands – an algal bloom blighting the surface of a clear wide pond. Our planet forces us along as it makes its circuit around the sun, shrinking shadows or angling them another direction leading onward and away.

Faint of Heart

12 08 2015

So apparently in January 1893, It snowed in Hong Kong, and it hasn’t happened again since. There is no one living who remembers it, and there are no extant photographs of the day. It might not snow in Hong Kong again in our lifetime, but once it did, and it will again. Thinking about this, I get the same feeling as when I look at photographs of space.


7 08 2015

A boy once told me I was the paper in his typewriter, and flattered though I was, upon reflection, I knew I would rather be the hammer and the key. I was no blank expanse of unsullied white – vessel or container for his will. Some time ago the seal was broken, or perhaps, I was born unsealed, and I have been full up in storms and fire ever since.

The day I learn to fly, I’m leaving all of you behind, your small kindnesses and whispered affection, his snaking arms coming up out of the dark. The day I learn to fly, I’m soaring straight up, into a dawn lit sky as pale and clear as your eyes.


26 07 2015

I can feel my muscles stiffening to keep away from you. The impetus to let go and the fear of pain are opposing forces, much like the heart and logic are usually at odds.

There is something inside me that shrinks away from being seen or touched, because to see it or touch it opens a path to pain. Of this pain I am very much afraid. But something residing near that quiet, twilight place is diving, spinning towards the gravity of you all the same.

I ask myself if you are worthy of touching that tenderest of palimpsests with your blunt fingers and staring eyes. If you have enough poetry inside you to read and love the things I hold sacrosanct.

I ask myself if I am worthy of being touched by fingers that hurt and soothe, if I am beautiful in those eyes I avoid like a split in the fabric of the world.

I don’t know.

I find myself diving, falling towards you all the same. Feeling almost sorry that the terrible pain I will feel when you inevitably drop me could permeate you as well, that you will feel the curse deepen, and reproach yourself for my pain, for being unable.

But then there is a part of me that suspects you wouldn’t even try to catch me, a suspicion that keeps me taut and straining to fly, mid-fall.

I could get over one, but not the other.

Three months

5 06 2015

I am still looking for you

in the crowds, from a distance.

though to you

I suspect I am precisely nothing.


I wonder which of us will break first?

Me? when I am convinced, after all,

that it was meaningless,

or you? Knocking one night

and finally hearing the empty space

I left behind.


I do not think it will be me.

My heart is a stubborn, jealous thing,

and I have a habit

of keeping open my injuries.


I hope, and do not hope

that it will be you.


19 03 2015

I live in a city of 24 million people. When I take the metro in the morning, I think about how there are hundreds of people around me, and all of them have a sense of self that has been built up over the years, and all of them have thoughts that might be insane, or inane, or funny if they ever said them out loud, that all of them have opened their mouths to sing or shout or laugh, and all of them have hands that have touched another person.

I think about this and feel alone within the confines of my thoughts and my awareness, and then I think of this and feel like I am a part of something.

Do you? Think about this?

Lately, life has been like a series of crescendos that never lead to a climax. I’m searching for some kind of exhilaration, the kind you have when you’re falling in love, and you would do anything, ANYTHING to make that person happy. That lurching fear-like joy in the gut that comes from standing at the edge of a tall building and looking down. The kind of exhilaration you have when you lift away the curtain of disillusionment or disenchantment you’ve drawn to dull the sharpness and keen beauty of this existence, and see that it’s all still there.

I’m searching for it. But I’m beginning to suspect it doesn’t exist in another person. Or if it does, I don’t have the key to unlocking it. And if I find it, the only one I will be able to share it with, is myself.

The Lost

16 03 2015

She sends me bisected images from Texas,
bright windows, sunsets – reflected, binarily so.
I touch her book, let it touch me,
and remember her leaving
like the others left, and are still leaving.

The plants outside are growing leaves,
new tender things, bright
against last summer’s dull, dark green.

Seeing them, I creak open,
and new blood bleeds
against yesterday’s crusted, immobile seam.

He confesses dark thoughts to me,
the ones no decent person would tell anybody.
Indecent as I am, I tilt to them willingly,
each word an oily drop of rain, unguent, absolvent,
against the panes, of my windows and my house.