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when does / a door become / a door , as it opens / or when it closes , / revealing an entirety – its face / or a fixed movement / of its hinges , is that smiling / or saying goodbye , / moonlight / or memory.  

Editor’s Note: The following poem by david hsu-tai lo 羅煦泰 is part of a notebook Queer Time, co-edited by Ta-wei Chi and Ariel Chu, which gathers contemporary queer Taiwanese literature in translation. To read the full Queer Time collection, visit its home here.


Air conditioning does not  
matter except  
when it does , something cool 
keeps you alive , here 
where it is so hot , plastic turns yellow like teeth , rays gnaw 
imitations of frosted glass – they peel  jaundiced from heat : the frosted  window film turning sunlight  
into something  
resembling moonlight 

and moonlight into a memory – you used to live here 
and occupy  
the soft edges – border  
between a heavy blanket 
silkscreened with pink flowers  
from abroad  
into a sovereignty  
that outlines your body , wrinkled  skin – anyway  
a body is not  
what makes you , when does  
a door become  
a door , as it opens 
or when it closes , revealing an entirety – its face  
or a fixed movement 
of its hinges , is that smiling  
or saying goodbye , moonlight  
or memory.  

when you pack  
into boxes , tidied , 
an attempt 
moving past 
each item , through a door 
way , it finds 
something cannot leave 
without remaining , peeling
the plastic window 
film taking 
away , an unclearness  
remains , glue having left  
stuck to panes  
how a smile remembers 
its veneers , teeth  
remember chewing , it is not enough 
just to chew 
or to remember ,  even keeping
insufficient – moving  
and taking that plastic film  
as if moonlight could 
be held  
and had . 


Slicing sashimi thick against the tongue. At what point 
did your bed get lifted  
from the tatami’d ground. Twenty millimeters present 

histories of a current. Migrating its flesh , each piece  
marked by a distance , a language .  

Here , to eat is to return . 

Eating always returns – reruns of that scene in goodbye , dragon inn where 

a Japanese tourist is lost in the movie theatre . in the end, nothing is heard of him ,  the tourist remains wandering through the scenes .  

the last piece of fish  
having sat out too long begins 
to smell  

like a body – an odor  
carrying its scent into the next room . 


soup ginseng’d in a lacquer bowl has no end . between ceramic and lacquer is another distance . because polishing and pushed into a glossiness is endless – where the form of a bowl finishes into a shadow . where the soup begins into its container , its vessel ends in the form of its contents – on a foggy day , mist blends into city smoked smog .


there is no bottoming  
out of a lacquer bowl , on sunday nights reflected in its contents puroresu – knee high boots flashing patent leather moving across a ring , cameras follow capturing footsteps that sound drums – when the war ends drumming happens as it did when it started , the last japanese soldier surrenders in 1974 . he was taiwanese . his name was attun . he did not hear the drums . instead puroresu reflected on ginseng’d soup keeps this alive . puroresu is not about theatrics – they say fighting is real – perseverance and spirit determine victory – a continuous pursuit glued and bound ,  held subject by its own receptacles – yet yielded , what resides when the soup is finished and gone , overhung , abandoned , an afterglow glut with remains .


“moonlit:” In Taiwan, sashimi is sliced thick; although used as a marker for Taiwanese-ness, sashimi carries the residue of Japanese empire. Section 3 references Junichiro Tanizaki’s essay on Japanese aesthetics, “In Praise of Shadows.” Section 4 describes Japanese professional wrestling, puroresu, which differs from American wrestling in that the fighting is more “real.”