by Amy Wei
Polyphony, Volume 2, Issue 1
First published April 2020, Manchester
You leave me in the kitchen at five
with yesterday’s aubergine lasagne plates.
White light bleaches my hands
as I place portobellos on a tray
and submerge sun-dried tomatoes in cream.
Water is angered to a frothy boil
and red bell pepper slices crimp and shrink
in a deep pan of battered thighs spitting oil.
I beam from photos stuck on cupboard frames —
me, kissing you in Amsterdam and Rome.
Now, I’m serving hot dishes. You’re the same
wearing those same square Tommy glasses
but empty-eyed as you glower at the course:
“I don’t like tomato sauce.”
On a leaf-strewn lawn a blackbird chirps a flutelike song to new sun, the weeds and the beardtongue. \noindent Behind pitch pine window panes I follow dewdrops she throws like marbles into the damp cloth air, as she hopscotches for worms. But when the rain returns to batter leaves off silver birch branches the blackbird disappears.
Your skin is plated gold
and in folds of cerulean silk
all the seas’ water
pools at your feet.
Red marble columns
taller than trees
pulse around you
with veins of milk
and your people extend
outside your temple
like a field of tulips—
but your gold chains
are now butchers’ hooks:
you swing rotting
and laugh blood
onto the gilded floor.
When your city is on fire
and the rain burns orange,
razing to dust
your silks, the dogs, the stone—
then what marble?
Then what gold?