I like driving around, especially in my yoga pants. I like getting out of the car, locking it, dangling my keys from my middle finger, walking through the parking lot, and into Target. When I’m longing, I like the bright lights and linoleum floors, the way the red doors whoosh open for me. Inside, I touch the lipsticks, uncapping and turning them, putting the hues to the back of my hand. I buy two tension rods to hang long curtains from. I ask, are these the only options I have in store? It’s easy to buy the wrong thing, as easy as feeling eighteen again, driving to buy cigars in my dad’s old Camry. When I’m longing I’m in that car again, waiting to bloom in the chest, crying about a bright-haired boy until my body is hot. If I just had American parents I could be loved. Maybe. Are these the only options I have in store? Somehow, after all this time, I still believe in an objective kind of beauty. In the makeup aisle, I see a woman with yellow hair and astonishing eyes. I think, how cruel that she wears those colors, and with such ease.
I hang my curtains
One to black out the morning
I hang them—grey, white
Emily Lee Luan is a Taiwanese American poet and essayist. A 2020 Margins Fellow at the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Best New Poets (2019), The Rumpus, Washington Square Review, The Offing, and elsewhere.
Read more Emily Lee Luan in TLR: Contents May Shift: “Your longed-for true form“