Warm Box 暖箱 [2023 Loraine Williams Poetry Prize Winner]

After The Dream of the Red Chamber, Chapter Six    
“Pao-yu Attempts the Sport of Cloud and Rain”
《븐楼梦》第六回 솔宝玉初桿云雨情 


        Salacity is a current of live breath. Forgive me —— 

             I’ve drawn every wind from your neck. 


                         On does the addled

        night endure. Flocs of fabrics. Words like feathers, slowly boiled by a       
               muttering blaze.

        Feeling —— a wet valance of unclean rain. 

        Spring     is the love we just made. 


        Wine spilled over the dinner table      has stayed there the whole night.

        Warm vagueness —— two pairs of eyes’ 

                          cups clinking against each 

                          other, exchanging light

        sound over their porcelain borders —— reasons why our inner is void



        Fluid is the heart       of my feet ——

                        being chafed by the strange stones on the wild trail in dreams

            —— now bleeds profusely into an undependable shape


        You are another coat rack         leaning against the wall


                     sleepless & watching

        me wash my face carefully through the reflection of the mirror,                              

                                 waiting for me 

             to return like a gown                              traveling on someone else’s body afar 

                   to hang warmly 

                                 back onto the hook of yourself.


        Caution —— dive not into the water too           shallow    

        Destiny is                                                      

        collecting dust          on a high sorry shelf.


Xinyue Huang is a poet from Shanghai, China. Her poems appear or are forthcoming in Pigeon Pages, Electric Literature, and several Chinese poetry publications. A semifinalist for the 2021 Joy Harjo Poetry Contest and a finalist for the 2022 Black Warrior Review Poetry Prize, Huang writes poems in both English and Chinese. She is an MFA student at New York University and the assistant translations editor at The Washington Square Review.