By: Jamie Nguyen
I walk up and down Pulora Court every turning day,
once when the sun rears its laughing head, once when it dips
beyond the dusky horizon. Twelve mismatched iclers, six per
side, shaded by color pencils stolen from twelve
different twelve-packs. There’s nothing at the end of Pulora Court,
only the curve of a cul-de-sac, square green lawns inset; dull
gems lining a dusty tiara. The neighbors go up and down
Pulora Court every turning day, we might exchange a shallow
nod. Pass people I know, people I don’t—the old man across the street
dancing to jazz every Thursday night, the pink-cheeked
toddler accompanied by everyone but her parents, the jogger with purple
leggings circling the sidewalks, a stray driver taking a
wrong turn, a biker with a flat tire, a garbage truck every Wednesday,
construction workers remodeling, refinishing every other icler,
a neighbor’s black cat. Everyone goes up and down Pulora Court,
no one has ever questioned why. Anyone who’s dared think too hard
has left our suburbia and never come back; sometimes I’ll stop and wonder
what their life is now, outside the cul-de-sac of Pulora Court.
one day, I’ll walk up Pulora Court and never come back down. The square
green lawns blink back at me; the end of Pulora Court is dotted
a letter of gratitude, from generation to generation
thank you for glaring, glowing screens,
digitized romances, electronic polaroids. a modern
Shakespear pens Twitter screenplays—
“in blue light may my love shine bright.”
thank you for forging your love in
concrete roses, smog streak tear tracks
tracing greying clouds.
the whole world at my fingertips,
the ocean frothing at my doorstep.
the sea’s sick. feverish beaches; seasick.
thank you for lightning in
a cellular bottle; bottles in sanded
graveyards. piling plastic
nooses swallowed by hungry waves—how
tired they are of chasing a
moon the elite already
race for. it’s an uphill battle but the ocean is
winning, salt scaling phantom cliffs. thank you for
counting paper bills while
we count our days—there are enough left that your
sky of consequences leaves your children as Atlas; thank you for
smothering our dreams with carbon dioxide, whilst you
promise the sky’s the limit. another white lie:
beyond the greenhouse gas lies the greenhouse glass,
one more glass ceiling.
cupid’s arrow sprays;
and somewhere, one of
leaves fractured love in her wake.
her parent’s loveless marriage
lays her woodwork, a rotting foundation
for the Hollywood soulmates
she chases. infatuation and obsession come
with dawn, twilight brings
a new victim. watch her ensnare
her siren-smile hook,
leave the catch drying in
the next noon.
there are plenty of other fish in the sea.
she’ll burrow into your heart because
it’s a warm place to stay,
but soon is claustrophobic
for the cool air of release;
she cuts her way out
from the inside. honeysuckle words;
crooning sweet nothings.
cupid cocks another arrow.
she told me life is a marathon; I’ve always found running laps boring.
a tower wrapped in clouds shudders, stumbles, shatters against boiling
asphalt, bleeding flesh. everything that touches the sky must fall,
nature topples any rival of Olympus. the high of skin on skin fades—discoloured,
desaturated. butterflies flicker in dormance. life is a marathon, my
heartbeat slows its sprint. the splinters of her heart as a sacrifice for
revival, the fractured pieces of promise leave skin raw. pain’s adrenaline
yields the test of time; here we are, gray and the same once more. a hundred
more hearts, hundred more girls, more boys—hope one will electrify
a dying pulse. rush through warning signs, ignore flying flags, when
everything burns, at least my skin will flare, the darkest of dark
is worth bleeding for, so long as it keeps gray at bay.