Lost Heartlines

By Jack Zhang

The cusp is hanging
Its fine, silvery crescent
Around my throat of seventeen years.

How far I have come;
How much my skin has stretched itself,
A veined wallpaper,
Over this graceless bag of bones.

My brother is glittering by the west coast,
All soft-gold and sunlight.
But he is slowly effacing, like imprints in the sand—
Searching for a seashell to cup to his ear.
A shell with a heart-shaped spiral and sun-freckles
To hold dear,
Before the tide carries him out.

If only my horizons were as clear.
The sights, foul as any February haze,
Enshroud me in grey malaise;
My one foot stuck in a muck,
And my head in a fog

The colour of pallid, Victorian hands,
Their nails, little tin-white beds
Smelling sweetly of violets.

But the flowers of May scent a different message.
They are the accents of my mother—
Of roses and tulips, of languid, speckled lilies.

My mother, herself, is a frosted, gold carnation,
Raising her effulgent pollens in the air like new dresses she
Has her vanity hooked in me; I am incomplete.

I recede to roots, beneath this transatlantic
Family tree.

Holding taut my skin, sweated as any peeling onion,
My assemblage of organs
I drag to oblivion.