this room will still exist
In the beginning,
earth & fertilizer,
would not grow.
closer. Before you
& I were born,
were ripe fruit
in a lonely
94 years ago, a stranger slept
with the window open. Fog surged
into his room. Imagine waking
from a dream of sky to sky.
Tonight, your face vanished
from my mind’s unending
mirror. A blue sadness replaced it.
A sound not of your voice,
not your laughter, but the wild
echo of a gunshot. I strike
my dresser’s mirror, break off
a shard the size of your head.
There are 86 kinds of sadnesses in this room
alone. I’ve counted each of them: the long serpent
standing upright to the height of the ceiling,
the warm bear skulking the corner, his fur
matted in dust. I’ve grown a blue
mantis the size of my hands. I’ve fed it
copper & hyacinth. & often, the black caracara
locked in the closet ululates at night.
I’ll carry the nightstand, carry
the bed & the desk,
the lamp & the moth circling the lamp
to a new room
in a new country. I’ll wear a different tongue.
I’ll lacquer the moon. I’ll build a bookshelf
from the bark of a dead tree. I’ll kiss
a man. I’ll kiss a man. I’ll kiss
& ask the moon: when did my brother become myth?
His face a brown blotch in my dreams.
His skin particles floating in the sunlight.
Some dull hour in the future this alcove
will be emptied of sound. In a steel table,
in a changing city, my humbled body
will open for the last time at the hands
of a stranger. I’ll love them for this final act
of surrender. For the kind
stitch & staple, & later, these walls
will hold in them the hum of two lovers,
which is to say two men, or two women
burrowing into each other’s breath.
Note: The title is borrowed from a line in Charlie Kaufman’s film Synecdoche, New York (2008).
Aldo Amparán is a queer, Latinx poet from the border cities of El Paso, TX, & Ciudad Juárez, CHIH, MX. He is a 2019 CantoMundo Fellow & finalist for the Alice James Award. His work has appeared in, or is forthcoming from, Black Warrior Review, Cream City Review, Gulf Coast, Poetry Northwest, Quarterly West, & elsewhere. Find him online at http://aldoamparan.com or on Twitter: @skygoneout.
Jia Sung is an artist and educator, born in Minnesota, bred in Singapore, now based in Brooklyn, and received a BFA from RISD in 2015. She is currently a 2018-2019 Smack Mellon Studio Artist and Van Lier Fellow, and an art director at Guernica. Her paintings and artist books have been exhibited across North America, including the Knockdown Center, RISD Museum, Wave Hill, EFA Project Space, Lincoln Center, Yale University, and MOMA PS1, and in publications including Hyperallergic, Jacobin Magazine, Asian American Writers’ Workshop, and The Guardian.