Jessica Chong is the strange feeling you get when you've had too much to eat and missed the last bus home.
Bananas brown wherever she's touched them. Ice cream melts into soup before she's even licked it. Flowers wilt in her presence. Milk curdles. Bread goes moldy. Bike chains rust, paper tatters, and guitars need restringing. And she has a way of making us grow older. We are tired around her! They say that she makes everything live faster because she has knowledge that the end is coming, that she's just doing her part to usher it in, so who can fault her? Besides, we’re all too enchanted by the shapes of her mouth as she says the words "forgive me".
For My Twin
When the peacock scratched your face, I was thrilled, for a moment, to see the blood roll down your nose in the crooked trails left by its toes. But when I touched my own face—nose intact—I panicked. Your face was a mess! In one stroke, we had lost six years of symmetry. Later, I wasn’t allowed to come to the hospital with you; I was sent home to eat chicken rice for dinner. It tasted like flowers but I chewed it like an automaton and swallowed it anyway. I think you would have tasted the flower taste too.
The crocus, which breaks snow in February, tender is its gaze, its face open, its bulb basking in the warm skin of the earth. Teach us this day to throw our selves to the wind, and let us listen for silence as silence listens for us. And let the dog sleep in our bed tonight, and let ice cubes jingle in our coffee tomorrow when we’ve slept through our alarms and there’s no time to wait for it to cool or to sit and read the paper. Some take by giving, and some give by taking, forever and ever. Amen.
Today I went on a forgetting spree. I forgot to flush the toilet, forgot the toothpaste when I brushed my teeth. I forgot to take out the trash. I forgot my keys. I forgot how to drive my car—where was it, anyway?—but it didn't matter, because I forgot how to get to my office. So I sat down while I continued to forget things like the sound of my mother's voice and the color of my father's eyes and my email passwords. But soon I forgot how to sit so I lay down and forgot how to breathe.
Get Well Soon
You have a cough medicine hangover and your eyes are sealed shut with sleep, but still I want to touch your ears and weave bobby pins into your carpet. Your thighs are heavy and you smell terrible. You tell me, “My lungs are filled with emotions.” I’m a small cafe and I’m open for breakfast. The coffee is black. The toast, too. I was hoping to impress you, but now I think we should burn everything and start over. This person bleeds like you bleed. Does that move you? This person pays bills like you do. Does that move you?