Goethe’s Last Words Were “More Light” by Janelle Tan

for N, a golden shovel with frank o’hara

there’s heaven, and there’s you. standing in the light and
holding a tupperware of soup. kin: the sound of someone
leaning against me in the late afternoon—this evening, it is you
and not a woman to kiss alight coming into my living room. love,
i know—we keep trying to die at the door of heaven. then, god enters.
america taught me: being an immigrant is to kill the
person you used to be. in this room
the december light dies in my lap, like the days i used to dream, and
isn’t being queer saving ourselves from dying? my father says
gay is sin, sounding like the chinese word for heart, and wouldn’t
you also hear: light is dimming while you
stand in it? the apertures are opening and closing. like
the visa officer’s window. like the technicolor of my imagined life. like america, the
light keeps changing its mind. i had faith once, and healthy eggs—
now, i offer my fingerprints and a scan of my face for a
brightened evening at the bar. you and the hours cool across the little
booth. maybe heaven will be different
this time tomorrow. maybe it’s this: more time. more today.

From: https://splitlipthemag.com/poetry/0522/janelle-tan

Date: 2022

By: Janelle Tan (19??- )


One Comment to “Goethe’s Last Words Were “More Light” by Janelle Tan”

  1. Actually Goethe’s last words were “Would you mind opening the shutters so that more light can come in.” The perils of pedanticism.

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