For two years, all I did was climb a mountain
standing within myself. I did not need
to see the sky. There was only the next planet
in which I could become.
But then I touched the top and saw the grass
above the glacier, for which there was no ice.
Instead, a cluster of leaves from which a bush
grew wild blackberries, hidden from view.
Forgive me, I did indeed look back.
A lizard crawls around the imprint of a dinosaur,
and today will surely turn smaller and smaller as time goes on.
In therapy, we did not know each other’s rules.
But Heather’s cat had died, and we knew this only
when she left the room as others described their pets,
and what else made them happy.
There was nothing left to finish, and I forgot my mountain.
All I could think about for years after,
was my cat and Heather’s cat.
So I sit on staircases now,
nauseous about the future
of little animals— and the moving world.
The moving world. Rain on the river.
Perhaps the only truth under capitalism
is to be found together. A joke between ducks
near the long lake is worth much more,
and perhaps god is like a knot and a knot
is a secure thing— but not a solved thing.
Haolun Xu was born in Nanning, China. He immigrated to the United States in 1999 as a child. He was raised in central New Jersey. His writing has appeared in Electric Literature, Narrative, Gulf Coast, jubilat, and more.