Japanese Denim

with lines borrowed from Daniel Caesar

I’m in the city on my own.

Here: the pulp-necked pigeons

so violet on film, the concert of taillights

zippering the street, runny& wet. A body bracketed

by alleys. I runall morning in busted shoes,

thinking of how to speakto my mother, what to say

about a distant, beautiful life.(city on my own)

I answer the night.Someone cracks the windshield

& it splinters into stars. Nothing stolenexcept a reprieve

from rain. I stuff the skywith wool.

There’s no one abovethe kitchen smoke, an aerial view

of the Bay.(up above) Where I wanted

to soothe an old fear:of pale plastic bowls,

doorknobs snapping like necks,ceramic gods.

I say let it besoft and ragged, shardless.

No touch missesmy skin. I’m roof-shaped,letting rain

renounce me. Sunset weltsthe vinyl siding & I shut

my curtains in the opposite directionof death.(let it be)

Forever’s a long time, yes,like a bass note, or the winding,

dappled sidewalks. You ask meif I remember being

without a body.I lie. (yes)


Mackenzie Duan is a student from the Bay Area. Their work appears or is forthcoming in Black Warrior Review, Gulf Coast, Frontier Poetry, Electric Literature, and elsewhere.