Clarisse Wei

Nothing’s been the same with you since New York. 

Your solar incandescence has cratered into lunar monstrosity; 

a distortion of light. Do I still know you? Do you know you? 

Your pupils, once slow as a caterpillar, now freewheeling as a butterfly. 

Your laughter is hollow with the timbre of an empty soda bottle. 

The love of you, the life of you—fruits I would know just by flower-scent— 

plastic as the displays in the supermarket. 

I knew a girl, now I watch a gallery. A cyborg by that black in your pocket. 

Jaundiced by your own mind’s eye, Medusa in the mirror.

Easy to see your reflection in a city of glass and metal. Hard to see yourself. 

Each call brings a new revelation: a new diet, a new outfit, a new haircut. 

There’s nothing wrong with exploration, with desiring beauty, of course. 

All I want to ask is this: do you remember when we were younger, 

and swore on overpriced magazines and grass-stained knees to never 

become those bald and sterile mannequins in the shop window? 

Do you remember when one fell over, the hollowness of the sound?

Tell me you won’t smile for the Polaroid camera unless you truly want to.

Tell me the want is honest, for all the girls strung up on your bedroom wall.

Clarisse Wei is a Chinese writer in the dark trying to not fail their exams. They enjoy musical theater, cinema, and cannibalism as a metaphor for love (though not necessarily in that order). They dislike writing third-person bios. If you’d like, find them on Tumblr: @viktorling.