Smog

poetry by Lucy Zhang

Smog

I can blot out the sun with smoke: fumes that sink in the chill of winter, submerging the skyscrapers and walkways with an off-white, an uncertain grey. Here is where we walk to work, take the train, call a taxi, ride a motorcycle. Here is where we slip out of the apartment at three am on an empty stomach and follow the pedestrian crossings until we reach the 24/7 Haidilao hotpot restaurant. Here is where we laugh away our bad Tinder dates that ended in good sex all while meandering towards the stand that sells grass jelly milk tea topped with roast peanuts and adzuki beans. We hide under a blanket sulfur dioxide that gently cradles us. I see your hand; you see mine. I see the rainbow-colored dodecahedron stitched at the left chest of your black jacket; you see the red of my elastic hair tie. We see bits of pigment chipping off our bodies and all that we touch–the blue floral brocade cheongsam hanging on a rack of coat hangers, red knot tassels with small golden bells hanging from their sides. Yes, here is where we try to touch the embroidery and ornaments; here is where we see with most clarity. Anything further retreats into the smog, where we all shrink from the sun. When I blot out the sun with smoke, I dissolve myself into particles and the particles dissolve themselves into me, and we take a labored breath as we wipe the world of color.

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Lucy Zhang

Lucy Zhang is a writer masquerading around as a software engineer. She watches anime and sleeps in on weekends like a normal human being. Recent publications include: Ligeia, Ghost Parachute, Twist in Time Magazine, MoonPark Review and Tiny Molecules. She can be found at https://kowaretasekai.wordpress.com/ or on Twitter @Dango_Ramen.