We Are Living In An Endless House Of Mirrors

You met her yesterday when you were both cornered
by the mundanity of foul existences & the incessant chatters of a tsingtao-chugging-son-of-a-bitch roommate
You had fallen into a rickety aluminum stool at the bar counter
She was driftwood discarded from the other side of the ocean
washed ashore with a maroon-and-satin dress plastered to her narrow hips
depending on the company she could be Jonah in the whale or Chang’e on the moon with
those billowing obsidian-shine strands draping across her protruding shoulders
Obsidian-shine like the friction-burnt tires of collapsed Miatas that you scrubbed for hours on weekdays at the San Marcos Shell— but put that shit to rest
You had come for the beer in the glass & not / your own hazy reflection at the bottom of it
Five shots, you decided
Five is enough to forget your English name and keep your Chinese one but
four will suffice to at least make the bus ride back a little shorter
with Baby Keem roaring in deaf ears
with knuckles on plastic ridge
with her palms pressed to the window beside you… What?
You were not sure how it happened but assumed a trading of
forgotten sentences and the knowledge of each’s palms
and perhaps the gossamer of sickly lips
You both entered 293 Valencia through two doors and ended up in
the same room; your roommate was still out but it goes unspoken, there is no sex expected
Only words on lip, only the acknowledgment that sex is only medicine
to decrease the pain’s LD-50
“Once,” she begins, “Nu Wa lived in a
Shanghai flat
She was computer scientist & had a ponytail & glasses
& would whisper c-plus-plus into Wukong’s ear to etch programs in the mud
But over time she became interested in the literature of the mud-figures she created and came down into the dirt on a 747 to
be among them and the patch of dirt that she landed on was called California
She scratched ethereal figures in the squalor of Toyota-wheels
But her sperm-banks and egg-carriers grew stark
in their fury and reached across
the ocean through phone-screens and concrete hands in the sun
sweeping away all that was good in a massive rapture
and in the golden rubble she
found fucking San Marcos (where her eyes bathe fluorescent in the glaze of creme-brulee yellows and browns
which were but leftovers from three days prior that a broiler couldn’t even save)
(where the hands of a stranger might rest on her half-crescent shoulders & the half-congealed vermillion of her / tears)”
She spoke mostly to herself then,
You asked her, but she said No—  she couldn’t stay, she had a train in the morning
By the morning it seemed that the only thing permanent in the room was the table; even time is an anachronism
The door closed behind her and you
struggle to remember her name
What are men and women,
folding through seams of fingers & kitchen blinds, doing in this endless house of mirrors?

Wukong — Sun Wukong, the Monkey King
Nu Wa — in Chinese mythology, the goddess that created humanity