It started raining when my high kicked in.
That’s fall for you; a paranoia
that you can get caught stealing pleasure.
A woman danced in front of the window
for a few seconds before walking on,
oblivious to me behind the blinds. I’m sick
of outsourcing care to desire.
Knead the muscles along my spine; clean up
after my disgust. Touch me how
morning light faints across a mountainside
and its velvet trees, ladylike.
Where I am now, the cracked window
admits the smell of sea, that oyster tang
and saline sunshine. My home hangs on the lip
of a cliff. There’s a small writing desk
my coworker was getting rid of; toiletries include
an ashtray by the sink. Jewelry from you sits
in boxes on the vintage cart beside my desk.
What would I have known of life on the coast
—the water the cats the diners the trains
the sunsets and this sweetness—
if not for evangelicalism?
I had visions of wearing the gifts
you gave me moments before
our tectonic demise. Champagne Swarovski
crystals, exacting in their shine, a rope
of starlight to ensnare the wrist.
The world once divided neatly
into shadow and light. My flight
from knowledge of good and evil was more
one from belief that you can do something
right, take away the pain, written into moral
imaginaries of the retina. It took me
a while to realize every bad thing
I did went unpunished. We wear our bright
flurries of thought. Fry bacon with windows
open to the chill. I’m brought
back to hot herbal tea and bike rides
down to the river with stinging hands.
My sibling and mother wait at home.


Grace Kwan is a Malaysian-born sociologist and writer based in Vancouver, BC. Their recent poetry appears in Canthius, Room Magazine, and others. Their first full-length book is forthcoming in 2024.   WEB