(A successor of sorts to Hypercritical)
A tiger-eye marble rolls slowly down the side of a cream-colored bowl. Orange flecked with gold on white. Anemic phoenix crawling across the snow. The marble comes to a stop at the center of the wide base, where it trembles, tears, and transforms into a teardrop. I flip the bowl over like a top hat in a magic trick and press a finger to my lips. Under the circle of the bowl, the teardrop morphs into something else.
This is what I’m thinking about as I walk the streets of Tokyo, sweat dripping down my back like streaks of paint. My shirt sticks to my skin as securely as if I grew it myself, like a pelt. I can’t bear to look at the sky. White veined with gold on blue. Scars leaking onto the meat of my midsection. Somewhere close by, a better version of me roams. I can feel her presence like a memory of a drive I’ve tried to forget.
The teardrop is a polyester dress. It’s a red ring in the water tank. It’s bad teeth. It’s a pearl glimmering wetly. It’s peach juice dripping down a hairy chin. It’s a carry-on with one busted wheel, dragged around a mirrored floor. It’s the devotion I felt and no longer feel. It’s the devotion that lingers like the flavor of blood. Jasmine in the hot dusk air, and time moves forward like a creature in the water.