Affection (2022)

is crème brulée after seven, hair anxiously coloured a soft blonde,

refilling prescriptions       remembering to smile at the pharmacist —

but I feel dimly, your shirt like a peach in my stomach,

light and quiet muffintops on the windowsill. Blueberry scent

all around the room, you take my hands so gently, as if

I’m a plant with wilting roots and growing buds that smell like tofu. As if

you’re not a mirror of me. Gray roots, blond locks, I’ve forgotten my own birthday

but still remember yours. I just want them to tattoo our names on a gravestone.

One and three. April and January. Acid, fertilizer, wooden bowls,

beads, birdseed, garnets, all your favourite things, favourites

from the antique store on Fifth Avenue, piled in small pyramids

in the glass case behind you. For Christmas I want a turkey baster.

To love the cat we adopted                        had a ten-month tussle then she booked it.

Life loses weight so quickly that we drink lemonade out of watering cans,

moisturizing our throats in sour. But: the garden is blooming behind the sink,

with its small, pumping fountain, light foliage and butternut smell. Nothing more

between then and now. If I tried I could still reach you.

Abigail Chang is a writer and editor currently based in Taipei, Taiwan. Her work appears or is forthcoming from Fractured, Salamander, Room, Moon City Review, Cortland Review, Citron Review, the Shore, and elsewhere. Find her at Twitter @honeybutterball or go here