by Joanna Fuhrman

Joanna Fuhrman

We twist around thin mountains
and skyscrapers in a rickety tram.

Hanging from a wire, we float
over warehouses and lavender pagodas.

I’m not scared but a little airsick
when the car lurches, starts to rock.

The wind lifts up the crooked hem
of my linen dress the edges
of the trees blurring,

and yes, the man and two women
with me are just temporary friends.

The man, like me, is aging
one year per minute.

As we talk, his eyebrow hair turns gray
and the lines on his face expand
like spider webs in dark corners.

The women grow younger slowly.
Their hips become narrower.

Shimmering with the afterglow
of afternoon sex and unsweetened ice tea,
they smell like the memory of being born.

One lusts after the older man

She would want him if only he weren’t
sleeping with so and so—
that teenager with the body
of a teenager.

I am, of course, disgusted,
but what can I say?

I thought I was flirting, realize now
that I have become too old
for anyone to love.

As I think this, the wire holding the tram up
splits, but I’m okay, not really afraid.

I feel an odd calm,
and on a warm current of air,
we drift slowly toward the ocean, and I listen

to what sounds like the lullaby
of an fragrant tangerine
played with a bow as if it were a violin.

I think of time as an arrow
bent in a circle and this image
fills me with a new kind of joy.

Finally in slow motion we land
on a white sand beach.

Our legs are unsteady,

and everything is silent,

the dragon back of the city,
fading into clouds.

Last updated November 24, 2022