High Summer by Hua Xi

In high summer, I see love
most clearly when I’m alone.

“Shouldn’t a poet be more romantic?”
someone asks me. I ask my heart
if it ever thinks of me.

This morning, I had breakfast by myself
at the hotel and listened to the lobby pianist.

Tourists arrive early to Black Tortoise Park and
I thought I saw a couple kiss beneath the weeping trees
then realized it was the two of us, ten years ago.

Then lotus fronds ate away at the foreground
and the story became leafy and botanical
and I wandered through the background
of the afternoon, admiring the aphids.

My mother jokes
she has not considered love in years.
“The night is spending the night with me.”

I turn the page. It turns
into another page.

I think about rocks.
If love is a real thing,
what lies in its shadow?

I wonder what the dung beetles make of time
when the park empties and dark reveals the Milky Way.
The river is so solitary in these hours,
so continuous.

Hua Xi is a writer and artist. They love the summertime.