We Live Under The Night by Shiyang Su

We Live Under The Night

I wake
from another empty dream. 1. am.
cold air slithered through my window.
Yesterday

my friend and I did our covid test in the nearby
community center. two days ago, she said
on the phone that she had a new boyfriend and I thought
we would talk about him, but she
had just broken up.
in only two days? I asked, surprised.

Silent in darkness, I listen to my window breaking
down in the hushed wind.
When was the last time I saw her?
We haven’t seen each other in years,
three years, probably. I don’t remember.
These days we lose track of the time it is easier
than we thought, to get lost in a rootless
world.

I realized she was different.
Her smile was unfamiliar, her dimples
were shallower. We all changed.
she went to one of the best universities
in the country, I took a year off,
now she was trapped by a relationship and got out
so quickly. Everything

is different.
we walked and talked.
She said she was really into that guy, they met each other in Chengdu,
everything was great, she was just
scared.
How could that even be possible? I asked.
I don’t know. She shrugged and turned her head slightly
to the opposite of mine; cars and masked crowds
bustled through us. it was 7. pm.
The world slowly closed itself like a balloon.
She babbled something about Avoidance Attachment.
It’s just that you are scared, so scared when you commit
yourself to anything.
.. . . . . .Scared of what?
the ending.
She looked at me, sadly.

Earlier that day, I read the news
covid was again spreading in our province
and another region was already in lockdown.
My mom called me to get more food from the store
I bought too much stuff, bumped, they almost
buried me.
I wrote a poem,
unfinished.

I walked her home, the night shadowed
gently on us.
I waved her goodbye in the doorway,
knowing that we won’t see each other in a long time
with her in China and me
in the US and the covid
loomed.
She almost sobbed. her dimples appeared
again disappeared in the shaded
light.

And when the night becomes softer in my window
I realize
at times like this
some of us are trapped, some of us
are falling apart, some of us are
dying
But still, we live unfinished and always retreat to the same
quiet night.

by Shiyang Su

Editor’s Note: This poem makes excellent use of enjambment and imagery to describe the precarious uncertainty of the speaker’s situation in the midst of isolation and pandemic.