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Xiaole Zhan


I daydream my name
over the airport loudspeakers
for the drama of it.

like a stoic kiss-cam,
one-line monochrome header on
newsprint, me! and some
catastrophe broad-

cast to strangers,
some of them beautiful,
imagine! my Tinder

date from three weeks
ago tilting her ears to
the side like a cat, ear-

ring set we bought
together and halved,
cheap, glow-in-the-
dark stars, dangling

as she catches my name
in the wind, like a class-
room note folded into
a paper plane.

the plot thickens.

decades, now, I’ve
been stranded in an
air-bnb in the middle
of nowhere, the storm

outside is louder than my
vibrator. I’m alone

in a one-bedroom
house in the middle
of the ocean, and

then a prodigal child
storms the aisle
at somebody’s
wedding and

at my doorstep
in a wooden rowboat.

a plane takes off—
an antenna is adjusted—

rainbow static on the
box television set
in a cabin
in the woods

of my devastated face
sure as a movie.

I’m flying home.

I say goodbye to
the beautiful strangers
of the summer. My tears
are wet faux jewels—

terrible, glittering, and
meant to be.

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Xiaole Zhan is a Chinese-New Zealand poet and composer based in Naarm. Their name in Chinese is 小乐 and means ‘Little Happy’ but can also be read as ‘Little Music’. @xiaole.zhan

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