On a day so hot the sidewalk sweated, my grandma hailed a taxi the color of aquamarine. They looked like that in Shanghai back in 2004, maybe they still do, I wouldn’t know. There was nothing better than sliding into the backseat of a taxi on that sort of day, the aircon so fierce it made you feverish. We went to a restaurant that did perfect fried eggs. My cousin left his phone in the car. It was lost forever and so he became glum. You could never do that today, lose your phone like that. You could never hail a taxi like my grandma. You could never fry an egg the way I like: whites all shiny and bubbled like the foam on fresh coffee, the yolk still runny, but only just.
3 Questions for Stacey
What was your process for creating this work?
I wrote these poems with a specific image in mind: the particular shade of a particular taxi on a particular summer day, or how my cat looks crouched over her food bowl. They're not particularly striking, but they stuck with me. Writing is my way of discovering why. I wanted to broaden the scope of the images while keeping their mood specific, which gave me liberty to engage in a bit of stream of consciousness that was still grounded in the feeling of the original image.
What is the significance of the form you chose?
I wrote in free-verse, which most closely mimics the quick and loosely organized way my thoughts unravel.
What is the significance of this work to you?
Each poem is about longing. Whether that's longing for a childhood self or the immortalization of a pet is just a difference in flavor. In "Aquamarine Taxi," that memory—the weather, the meal—encompasses everything I feel about Shanghai, a city I likely will not visit again because my grandma has since passed. And with "Cat-Lover" and "Deaths of Getty": I think loving a pet can be so pathetic. And I'm drawn to pathetic things. I wanted to capture that.
Stacey Yu is a writer and reviewer living in San Francisco. She studied English Literature at Columbia University. She once memorized 400 digits of pi, for which she won an apple pi.
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