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Someone is tossing fish from the roofs
and you, you swim the violent current
down Broadway towards Central Park

past steel hot dog carts and rusted fish caves
once garbage bins brimming with takeout boxes.
Perched atop a drowned oak tree,
Alice and the Mad Hatter ask about the state of the markets.

When the helicopters shred the sky
they will ask if you are here for the light show
and for proper identification,

cash is also acceptable.
The annual burning of the older houses
brings the wealthier crowds on their fancy

foam noodles, rubber hands built
with waterproof cameras
they only like the old houses,

those rusted gates and
outdated number plates,
when they burn.

Here come the sirens,
those jazz songs that warn of the waves, the breached seawall
Sinatra always plays on payday.

The tourists are never ready for the skyscrapers,
their windows crashing against rocks, until the shoreline
dots with gray sea glass, the marble stairs of the library
a hill of preening sea birds

When They invented the boats, we knew the worst was over
it had to be, so what more could we do but celebrate
a body that no longer needed to swim?

Angela Liu is a Chinese-American writer from NYC. She researched mixed reality at Keio University in Japan and now works in IT consulting and translation. Her stories and poetry are published/forthcoming in ClarkesworldThe DarkUncannyDark Matter MagazineCast of Wonderskhōréō, among others. Her debut short story collection, Beautiful Ways We Break Each Other Open, will be released in September 2024 with Dark Matter INK. Check out more of her work at or find her on Twitter/Instagram @liu_angela.
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15 Apr 2024

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