Small Poems for Persistent Nostalgia

by Amy Heqing Zhang

Still on the mind: man heating his bedroom
with hairdryers. Such a small thing—
to recall cold on another body. Ampersands spilled
onto the chest. Making love in the metro station,
teeth numb; beautiful. Beautiful in the mouth.

Face paint. Professor fantasy, soft sound of
the tongue, lantern mythology, saint on his upside
down horse. My body a lake: let me teach you

to swim with one hand tied behind your back.

Fridge magnet notes: if he leaves you in the car, 
lock the door. Range Rover, baby blue Hundai.
Drive away, go buy some tangelos.

Irony? Or just tired Astoria light streaming
through broken sunglasses, eyeliner grime,
teeth marks on the coffee straw that slips
through the fingers to the subway track.

Summer clinging to ankles. Persimmon light.
A dress I made that morning, a look like
I’m about to slip through your fingers—
this is to say you’re not. This is to say you have
beautiful fingers, sticky with pale ale and dive bar
residue. Even the sky is nostalgic, not for us,
just because. Ancestors beneath us, craning
their necks from the crypts beneath the park as
we touch and touch; my hips the ocean, your home 
these hipbones. This story I’m telling you, just
wish there were more birds; so I place your
hand in my hair. My skull in your health line,
you grip tight as the skeletons in our bodies
speak to the skeletons beneath them:
take me home, darling. Put me to bed.