Cover Photo: This photograph is a picture of the Shanghai shoreline at sunset.
Photograph by Alice Liang

Shanghai, July 2013

This poem was written by Alice Liang in a 12-Month Poetry Collection Generator taught by Angel Nafis

A hundred degrees for ten days straight.

from the sweat of the day. The streets swallowed us in its black unswept sparkle. We brushed, on accident, on rushing morning commutes, breaking quickly from the dew between us.

in the shuffle of the summer.

only the filtered air of modern living, Ma FaceTimes me with her zip-up jacket on. The room shivers the color stark. Antiseptic skulking in the distance.

governs the passage of day.

selling six for a dollar. Even the air is no match against his homemade steam. The sauce bleeds sweet into my brows, glasses fogging to the soup in surrender.

and shrinks with the schedule of surgery.

It’s serious, and angle to sun to stave off the screen.

on the Bund. The blast of fans dim to a dull roar by contrast. Kids and peddlers fly by on light-up skates, pleading with the sun to set upon us some relief. The river waits.

from the motherland.

she once walked on and had then called new. Ma, what a spectacle the skyline has become. Saturating her another photo to see, light streaks handing her no hint of the heat.

Isn’t it funny,
how we’ve switched countries?

the sky vast in its kingdom. The Pearl Tower and I, twin promise-jewels of our time, bets taken on some kind of hyperbole. Me and the city, racing over twenty years of concrete.

only more untouchable in the heat.

away the dust in unison, ushering in a sunrise much too bright for mourning. That summer, I stepped as far as I could from the face of death, all the way to the other side of the sea.

It’s not time to come home yetand I’m not sure who she means.

Photograph by Dan Lundberg/Wikimedia

s collection, Beforelife,

Alice Liang is a poet based in Brooklyn by way of Michigan. Her work can be found in The Rumpus, Apogee Journal, Hyphen Magazine, Sine Theta, and other outlets. She also enjoys working in other media such as data and embroidery. She is currently working on her first poetry manuscript, Beforelife.