Emily Yin: Can't You See?
Photo: Joanna C. Valente

Photo: Joanna C. Valente

Vanishing Point


We walk along the towpath, crushing stone

and weaving through the graceless trees.

Yes, we speak, and yes,

the sky is an unstained blue, 

but no, our eyes don’t meet. To circumvent

each obstacle, a puddle or

a branch, I move right

and you move left, a parting

symmetry. Perhaps the body knows

what the mouth does not.

You quote Neruda

in your native tongue, so sweetly

I think I could cry: Y a las bocas azules

frescamente enterradas. You do not tell me

what it means. I do not ask.

Translation, to you, is isometry:

a transformation

that preserves this distance between us.

Cherry blossoms fall upon us

like winter snow. Can’t you see?  

You’re breaking my heart,

soliloquizing on zebra mussels

and kireji, James Harden’s

Euro step and monochromatic

cliques. My lips tremble

with everything I have

not said. I want to slap you. I want

to clutch you desperately, and yet my rage

is frail as sodden lace. I gesture 

toward the point at which

the towpath seems to end, at which

the trees blur. Isn’t it sad

how those lines will never meet? Well,

you say, it is possible

for parallel lines to intersect—

in a projective plane, at infinity.

Yes, I say. In your world, yes, but not in mine.

Emily Yin is a sophomore studying computer science at Princeton University. Her writing has been recognized by the UK Poetry Society and the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers. She currently serves as a poetry editor at Nassau Literary Review. Her work is published in the Indiana Review Online, The Establishment, decomP magazinE, and Connotation Press, among others.