Night Swim

Night Swim
Alice Fanchiang

In the dark, last summer,
I remember waking and
lying in the stillness, listening
to our breaths.
Our jumbled limbs were heavy with heat,
languid with sleep,
tangled like roots.

(We were content to be grounded by gravity,
confined to earth – having shed our wings, forgetting the silk of
empyreal robes.)

In the dark, last summer,
we awoke and padded
outside to the night, delighting
in clear skies.
Our faces were upturned to the vault
speckled with light
like silver mica.

(But the sky exerts its own kind of pull like the moon
on the unruly sea, like the magnetic tug of memory and  already
mapped trajectories.)

In the dark, last summer,
I remember floating and
drifting on the water, searching
the cosmic deep.
Our warm bodies were weightless and hollow
as birds’ bones,
iridescent like feathers.

(Strange how we can yearn to be both earthbound
and airborne, tethered and free – caught
between orbits.)

In the dark, last summer,
we watched the slow
dance of constellations, spinning
to primordial time.
Our fingers were twined, our blood fast
as the meteors
striping the sky.

(It was August when we bathed in a shower of stars,
dreaming of spectral nebulae and an ocean
galaxies away.)

In the dark, last summer,
We (and the universe) were luminous.

Alice is a Taiwanese-American poet whose work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Liminality, and Through the Gate. True to her Californian roots, she loves the summer and movie nights. She loves the stars but has no desire to go into space. You can find her online at Girl On The Roam ( or perennially on Twitter @kangaru, chatting about books and superheroes.