BY Ting Gou
Hello, Heaven. You are a tunnel lined with yellow lights.
—Lana Del Rey, “Yayo"
I’m wading through the grass again,
trying to remember how I got here
and why I’m shivering.
It’s raining. My mother is inside
hanging laundry over the bathtub.
The heavy stalks, burdened with new mud,
sink and fold toward each other
over soil involuting
from how my mother’s feet struck
the ground as she ran,
our clothes kept dry.
Some time ago, I decided
that this was not
the way to heaven,
though there are yellow lights here too:
rusted gutters blinking white
the neighbor’s two-door clunker
screaming in alarm.
Everything oversaturated. No use
for subtle dreams.
The house: a peacock green.
The atmosphere: extraterrestrial.
In this yard where every object
is turning into something alien,
I am being beamed
into a spaceship and I am glad,
think, This is a good thing.
How we can make anything a heaven
by naming it:
Hello, tunnel lined with municipal light.
Hello, house with snakes
in the crawlspace.
And the thought:
had it not been for my father’s hand
pulling me back that day
from the hissing coils,
I would still carry the puncture wounds
from a dead animal’s teeth.
I’d say I often dream about this house
but that’s a lie: there are some things
we resurrect by force.
The lifespan of a house
is the sum of the lifespans
of all its inhabitants.
The aliens, with their technologies,
understand: they know what it takes
to keep from dying.
After a time, we approach
their planet of ice.
The ship starts a mechanical beeping.
Some distant god lifts it dark head
out of the snow.
How close we are all to heaven.
Ting Gou is a student at the University of Michigan Medical School. Her first chapbook, The Other House, is forthcoming from Blue Lyra Press. Her poems can be found in Arcturus, Best of the Net, Bellevue Literary Review, Ghost Ocean Magazine, Midwestern Gothic, r.kv.r.y., Superstition Review, Word Riot, and elsewhere.