we never left guangzhou

by Eileen H., 17

for my sister

until it was raining & we pressed
our mouths to the glass tanks

in the aquarium & started kissing the dogfish
with our fists until they opened their throats

as wide as ours & sang,
& in the apartment room with no AC

we listened to the song that goes I love
Paris in the rain until our backs found

the bamboo covering, the stale wooden
bed that gave us nightmares. I like to think

of time as Monet’s Water Lilies—
circuitous, continuous, unending white circle

in which you can’t tell if you’re looking
at paint splotch or art. & if we were Impressionist

landscapes I might be a green brush stroke
& you might be purple, blue, or the chair

in a Van Gogh painting. & I remember,
when we did visit Trocadero, at midnight,

a man missing three front teeth took
a photo of us when we weren’t looking.

On a cheap, disposable camera.
I’ve never seen that photo but

I’ve seen it in dreams—the city
holding us over with its light, us watching

over the Seine. It’s so blurry that in it,
I can’t tell if we’re smiling or dancing.
Holmdel, New Jersey