Jingwei and the Ghost Aquarium (2016)
The moon, the red ache of its carcass
I could almost carry. In the souvenir shop
I raze my body into vulture, strip away
summertime & all its lonely trinkets. This story
marred by stories of screams
sharpened underwater. We set new records,
invent a sunfish state of mind. For decades
I betray every small disaster I believed
could save us: Once, a boy marooned
on a 1991 satellite. Once, two foxes ferried
by a coral reef. When out at sea, another day
looks perishable on poor teeth. The searchlights
grow paler by the minute. These days
I stake my eternity on every pretty thing
I could kill for pleasure: Fish scales exfoliating
across glacier faces. Cruise liners with sheets
spilled over the balcony. Lovers already
double-bodied in the dark. Already
sawing sea glass off each other’s backs
& what does it mean, if one scatters
kelp from bed to breakfast table?
Color theory: Blue Ice beer, at least four cans
for the beluga whales. I search
for rafts to sink, pluck the stowaway ghosts
from their past lives. My last memory a crime
spoiled of romance: Dangerous Stunt Gone Wrong
or Lead Actress Dies in Drowning Accident.
Color theory: aquamarine on its best behavior.
Look. I witnessed every creation myth
backwards, lost the soundtrack of this movie
to mermaids. Color theory: stoplights in the dead
of dawn: Cherries swilled of cyanide.
The film reel mawed to pieces by mackerel.
Color: theory of what pissed in my mouth
signs of life. Every stone I bestow Mazu
shivers out of monochrome. Blossoms in spite
of its ache. Moon-broken, a treason of light
that turns me murderer, hands me a girl’s
good intentions. There are no words
for this clarity. This story, but with
a better body: I press my palms against
aquarium glass. My body backlit
by exit signs. The display reads Filial
cannibalism. My body a consequence
of every organism it’s ever touched,
emptied into the ocean’s open grave.
Off-camera, my stunt double laughs.
Cue the birds. Drowned everywhere
we keep beginning.
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