Letter to P — Cabeça Coletiva


There is a performance that Moten writes about, where Lygia Clark and her students in Rio wear a
            hat filled with cookies and ask the people they pass by to take from it. I think

all the time of an us of this, a we / us that would include you, me, and Lygia Clark, and her students,
            and all of Rio, and Moten, and my parents, and no one

else, and what it would mean, what it would mean to someone who doesn’t know us, what it means
            if we don’t know each other, if we’re lonely,

the morning I left for Boston I spilled boiling water

on my thumb, which was what reminded me of the taste of boiling water. That even boiling water
            has its taste. That my mother’s kitchen can still barrel through me faster

than light. The best part of any correspondence is not replying, not writing back, being late, being in
            a hurry with you while I stare

at other people. There is someone I’m falling in love with. Maybe the best part of any poetry
            is nostalgia for poetry. Iced black wine in a wasteland. I wish

I had more to say to you. It’s been three weeks that I’ve been trying to say more to you. I wish I had
            nothing to say to you. I wish I had more to say to you. Does it matter

how I end this poem. Does it matter I’m writing this poem at the exact same time you’re reading it.
            We’ll never

keep never meeting. I feel so close to you. I could turn around, watch the past be transfigured

into memory, memory into teaching, into wanting, and still

see you ahead of me. Standing on your back. At 3am. Already a little older. Already thinking about the next poem.

(12/12/20, for P)

Yongyu Chen is a poet based in Cambridge, Massachussetts, where they're currently studying for a Ph.D. in Film and Visual Studies at Harvard. Recent work has also appeared in Nashville Review and The White Review. They were born in Beijing and grew up in East Tennessee.