10 Aug Life is a Place Where it’s Forbidden to Live
by Jackie Wang
Except from The Sunflower Cast a Spell to Save Us From the Void (Nightboat Books, 2021).
All I remember is the coppiced terrain I crossed to find a house to rest in. Who is the woman lurking in the woods? A fellow traveler. I’m not used to seeing others. She is lost and I am lost but the difference is she is a novice at being lost, whereas I have always been without country. Without planet. When we happen upon a cabin I ask the house for shelter on her behalf. I’m aware that we come off as oogles but want to prove we are different by washing dishes. To concretize my gratitude.
In the morning, before the others awake, I set off for the holy site in a horse-drawn carriage. The carriage has a detachable sleeping chamber designed so that a princely man can carry me supine whenever the horse gets tired.
At sunset my pilgrimage is complete. The Asian market is a glass palace overlooking an airport. From outside the Palace of Snacks the products shine like organs inside a hard, translucent skin. As I take the palace escalator heavenward my eyes are fixed on an airplane parked on the runway.
It is waiting for me.