By Elia Zhang
Intimacy is not love. We were pushed together
By this trumpeting tide of thought. The two of us shared a symptom
But not together, in the sense that we reside at the same place.
It was waving, waving
With a triumphant loudness coated under a silence
The heterotopia in which I sat beside you
Liking that version of me, not knowing if
I had projected that fondness
To the other side.
My light was reflected in you and you saw mine.
A light that made us believe the taste of an apple to be less important
Than the naming of a tree.
Our eyes were blinded when we dragged our feet into the lecture hall,
Under that light all small talk seemed utterly unbearable.
You were not a physical entity, but a passionate speaker
To drag our conversations along.
Maybe something true would come ahead of the next round
Maybe something to cling on, a thought that lays still and sound.
Shanghai, a memory filled
By the presence of you.
A talker without a body, only words
Spreading everywhere around
The dark tunnel under the subway, the shining street of phoenix trees,
My desk that was covered
By the works of authors you criticized.
I could almost see you beside every cup of my morning coffee
So indignant about human rights abuses, so knowledgeable
About the systematic oppressions whose mechanisms you’d elaborate;
A fervent faith in justice, an icy indifference
To the living people that you touch and see.
I was lonely and I needed a direction to cling on
In a city so various, so new, yet so cold, and a year so absurd.
I could feel you everywhere, and every time
In my chest a whimper of pain.
I didn’t even realize it until
Long after I had parted from there.
How foolish it would be to believe
That it was through this tide and this tide only
That we could step into unprecedence and dance around this so-called modernity.
Now my phone is broken and I can find nothing about you;
The history of us finally destroyed
By the modernity that we once cursed.
How swift, how speedy one can change—
A fainting node amidst a web of dots
Forever stretching, enlarging; a margin unknown, a reality
They say that the order of our world is made by words
And so were you, my friend.
And isn’t foolishness the answer
To every single question of us?