Bitter dust

29 October 2020

Ama, Amie, Amour
everyone called you
along those lines.
Ama, Amie, Amour
defined you, roped
you like a confused braid. 

Little storyteller, little
dancer, the girl with
purple ballet shoes
wrapped in silk. 

See my eyes? My favourite tale.
You told it after you cried. After my
father said everyone talked about
you and your myriad of lovers.
come from the Atlantic. Two
whitewashed pearls from the
deepest parts of the ocean. How
did they find two, eh? 

You dance again, you
and your scab-filled
arms, you and your
balsam skin in the
dusk of a nursing

Little storyteller, little dancer.
How happy you were when
you showed me your back
map of cigarette burns from
past lovers, valleys of
chickenpox scars 

and that descending
space between your rib
cage and spine. Ama,
Amie, Amour, that name
keeps you hostage. 

See my hair? This was your last. Your
whole body trembling, your hand,
slowly, reaching out to us.
See it? It’s
confused. Sometimes it’s grey,
sometimes it’s black, sometimes it’s
filled with fleas. 

Ama, Amie, Amour. The songs
of buskers drip into subway
grates. In New York things are
always falling down, falling
apart, falling together. Noise and
emptiness, Ama, reminds me of
you. In my mind there is a tiny
dancer falling into a hole under
her feet. 

Some nights when the ambulances
sing, I hear you and Andy Lau in a
mixtape chorus. Ru Guo Ni Shi Wo
De Chuan Shuo, and your voice
cracks every time.

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