In Lieu of Watching the News

by Taylor Fang


While the city is ruined
I drink water.
It is cold, so cold.
A wasteland blackened
with small mosses
and lichen-crusted blossoms.

Upon closer
they are people.

From above
there are thousands.
Hair curling sideways
or wrapped
in gauze.
In patterned shawls.
While the semicircle
building crumbles,
razed by fire,
by artillery shells,
by the hand

which presses the trigger,
by the hand
which authorizes it,
smoke rising like a swarm
of seething black-grey

is the simile
moral? What language
saves the child
for a bread roll,
what image of fire
is describable,
can be described—
while the city is shaven
I pull on high-waisted jeans
and brush my hair.
The strands fall into the sink’s
small pool
and disappear
into the pipes.

My grandfather
walked to the bank
every Sunday.
He had a neighbor
who was lined up
and shot
in the back of the head,
his name was

brittle, anonymous.
There are people
being poisoned.
You do not know
which faces are being crushed
or smudged
or broken.
I wash my eyes and blend

a grit of glitter
onto my eyelids.
I look into the mirror.
Outside, the river
freezes over
into skin.
The voice of a small
child standing
on a balcony
is made of tearing silk.

The water
is cold and makes no sound
as it passes beneath us.


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