I touch people like a monsoon lover nestled in
the folds of shiny valleys. I touch them where
the water runs dry, where God settles down at night.
Flit around a fruit market, pulp of a ripe orange
spilling out of velvet lips and splitting concrete.
I touch the fruit but they don’t touch me back.
The papaya feels like a slick leather forehead
pulsing beneath my spindly black legs.
My mind can’t help but wander—it’s part of my
nature like flight and hunger. The birds have it good,
they’re all up there and scratching holes in space
while I’m heavy and hunted like a goddamn whale.
Colors drip out of my peripheral vision, blending
together like mother’s fingers as she weaves
the spindle round and round, round and round.
Everything spins fast and it feels like blindness.
When night comes, the lanterns descend and I’m
scared the fire will escape and swallow the sky.
Look at these humans, look at their skin glisten
pale gold under artificial lights like ghosts, like
skinned scallops, bodies stacked on bodies, tide
washing in and out, in and out. My God, they tuck
their secrets away so well: in the caves in their nose,
the hollow of their neck, the crevice between their
legs. I hide so well with their secrets but it’s a shame
there’s nowhere for them to hide. The moon is full
and my stomach is empty, yearning always yearning.