Jessica Yuan


No Dreams

For five months I had no dreams.
My thoughts were old shoes, dry.
I thought, if I am to bear this
every image must be named.
Give over my throat entirely
to knit latin alphabet from
tv static. Recognize faces
without roundness from a screen.
Bodies pouring into rotation,
void where the story stops.
One night I spent sorting
a collection of stones resembling
the fingernails of different hands.
And I held all their hands in my hand,
the closest I’ve felt to vision.
I held small islands, pomegranate
flowers, half open, innumerable.
Tins of baby teeth to put together.
I woke smelling of over-ripened fruit.
Daylight drips into the basement
from the white shell of a minivan
I could reach out and touch,
its gray undersides projecting
old desire onto a wrinkled screen.
No mirror shards, no naked eye
to deliver me whole and prick into
the strange brittle crust of desire.
I still hope for a space that is empty,
mine, trickling out from what
I cannot say. Pressed breathless
between survival and production.
Turning the corner, half open.
How do I imagine the world
of that life when even now
I feel imagined by a sad selfish girl
I call my own name. I call her
anything. I name the objects
surrounding her, in the order
they appear into light.

JESSICA YUAN is a graduate student studying architecture at Harvard. Her poems are published or forthcoming in The Margins, Ninth Letter, Ruminate, and others