Perhaps I hold people to impossible ideals, I tell them, something is wrong with your personality, (you're a drinker, you're too dependent, or I think you have a mother/son fixation). This is usually followed by passionate lovemaking, one good long and very well meaning embrace, and then I'm out the door. In daylight, I'll tip my sunglasses forward, buy a cup of tea and think of the good I've done for the world, how satisfying it feels to give a man something to contemplate. The heart is a whittled twig. No, that is not the right image, so I drop the heart in a pile of wood and light that massive text on fire. I walk the streets of Brooklyn looking at this storefront and that, buy a pair of shoes I can't afford, pumps from London, pointed at the tip and heartbreakingly high, hear my new heels clicking, crushing the legs of my shadow. The woman who wears these shoes will be a warrior, will not think about how wrong she is, how her calculations look like the face of a clock with hands ticking with each terrorizing minute. She will for an instant feel so much for the man, she left him lying in his bed softly weeping. He whispers something to himself like bitch, witch, cold hearted ______, but he'll think back to the day at the promenade when there was no one there but the two of them, the entire city falling away into a thin film of yellow and then black, and how she squeezed his hand, kissed him on his wrist which bore a beautifully healed scar, he will love her between instances of cursing her name. She will have long fallen asleep in her own bed, a thin nude with shoes like stilts, shoes squeezing the blood out of her feet, and in her sleep she rises above a disappearing city, her head touching a remote heaven, though below her, closer to the ground, she feels an ache at the bottom.
Copyright © 2007 by Tina Chang. Appears courtesy of the author.
Born in 1969, Tina Chang was a finalist for an Asian American Literary Award from the Asian American Writers Workshop for her debut collection Half-Lit Houses.
Date Published: 2007-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/duality