The View

Someone shudders with news of their ruptured / heartbreak

A black and white photo of Chuqiao Yang against a blue backdrop

We’re at this party looking fish-eyed outside,
bricked into each other like a neat little house.
Someone shudders with news of their ruptured
heartbreak. It’s either 2007 or 2012
and I’m carrying the weight of knowing how
this feels. But I don’t want to pour myself
into another glass only to be told my suffering
tastes the same. And now it’s 2022
and we were 21 a long time ago, sucking in
as much of the world’s cooked air as we could
before it burnt us. I don’t speak to anyone
I used to know. But in my mind, they linger,
a twist of limbs and bummed smokes,
those perfumed bookkeepers I met
in the bathrooms of my past who’ll never
check back to see if I’ve made good on
my promises to do better. None of this’ll
stop someone I’ve forgotten about from
thinking of me. Or someone who wounded me
from possibly now being married. Or settled
or, worse, happy. Someone I love could be
wrought with envy. Or someone I hate
could have an adoring baby.
But what is the point, knowing that time,
like daylight, will always remind you to dust
off the memories in your palms. What is this
gift of finally belonging, if not returning
the tender smile back to those faded
faces who were quietly waiting for you
to see them as they always were
for the very first time?

Chuqiao Yang
Chuqiao Yang was a finalist for the Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers. Her poetry debut, The Last to the Party, was published this spring.