Changxin Fang ('05) majored in English Literature and spent many inspired
evenings at the Poetry Center at Smith. She received an MFA from University
of Utah in 2007. Her poems have been published in Runes, Pebble Lake Review,
Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, and Women. Period., an anthology
of poems about menstruation. She currently works as a renewable energy
consultant in Maryland. She is originally from Shanghai, China.

 

 

 


 


 

Changzin Fang '05

 

Shanghai

Late September, summer
stretches like aluminum
pressed between thick
sheets of humidity.
Bodies deflate
like steamed buns,
oily and shapeless.
My books also gone soft,
taken off the crisp shelves of
New England universities,
pages rumpled like used
handkerchiefs.
I have forgotten how to sweat.
Moisture clings to me like film.
Bamboo mats smelling of grass
absorb the heat of our bodies.
Night after night mosquitoes
bite us, swells pearling on limbs
like bracelets. There are
no ice cubes in China.
We drink bean tea
simmered with ginger.
In the street, a woman
sells vegetables on the trunk
of her bicycle, leaves bruised
and decaying like old fruit.
Old men paddle rickshaws,
their shirts open to the wind.
When fall comes,
there is no announcement
of trees suddenly flaring
into flower, or a tented sky
deepening towards night,
Only a precipitous descent—
tenements hunkering
by the river—
rain,
a chill pill,
a rattling within.