December 5, 2021

Noon by Feng Sun Chen

Flabby from a night of racing the snow and the American sadness, blue is elusive, and fickle and found rarely in the city. Mother’s plump wrists pour hot water for father, warm, and furry with the dreams of whatever older people dream about. Probably not so different. Probably also full of shame and fear, maybe my brother and I dying. At noon she will put out the rolls, and the sugar dish. Noons are made of foam. Empty froth of hastily poured mor ning, so says this friend of mine. Foam makes my friend unhappy because she used to frequent the Icon and the man would buy her champagne in a long conical glass. He would get something that foamed on top. His eyes flashed and fluttered like passports of onyx. I don’t like martinis. But they taste better with the salt of her tears. We horse-raced through the muck of it—the disaster of being young and wanting everything still. I could reach out and touch her sadness, which was small and smooth and black. These fat cells come from orgiastic feeding, mostly due to panic and wanting to die, and then habit, and wanting to die becoming habit. Being buried alive by yellow abundance. In the blood, trace elements of famine. I can tell about the heart-shaped stone she found under a tree in Wisconsin and carried in her pocket until it wore until it shone like a baby’s eye and finally left in an Irish well in Kildare, convinced it was cracked on the inside. She hated being touched, but it was her only desire. Irish landscape colored her organs and coated her with a film of sublime excess and there was that history, of course, and the dirt tasted of a special kind of blood, a fetal curl of madness inside it. When she returned home, there he was, the American, like a wish from someone else’s well. America was like falling upward; the whole thing was one big streak of sky. Blue. We could fall hard for a place. Find place in each other. Mother’s plump hands used to grope in China’s pitch darkness for bits of coal. My father’s eyes. She does not perceive the American sadness. Through evergreen landscape she plods and minces her arms, glad to see me fatten like a baby. Sometimes the sky is murderous. We reach up and try to push it aside, or through. Surely there is more light to be let in. Well, I know how to be alone.

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