"If there is a heaven"
Prose poem, written as part of my "Gender & Race poetry portfolio" in Summer 2018
If there is a heaven,
maybe it wouldn’t be in our stratosphere, maybe it resides on one of Jupiter’s moons light years away, set against the backdrop of the poisonous caramel swirls and the planet’s infamous “Red Eye.” Space isn’t an issue. The place would be a utopia, and as spirits, the residents of this space would cease to have material desires. Perhaps they don’t even look like how we do right now— when they see each other, they see an interconnected jumble and network of memories, passions, and beliefs. When they meet a newcomer fresh in the ether, the junctions between their own thoughts would expand, and they would live the newcomer’s previous lives in a flash that takes fewer than an Earth second. They themselves would take on a piece of that life. This would be each one’s goal - to expand. It’s the ultimate vulnerability. Conversation would happen like chemical reactions giving off earthly visions cast in the warm glow of remembrance: the sun streams through curtains when dumplings are molded during the spring festival, they ride a bike without training wheels for the first time, they shuffle on slippers through the dusty souks as vendors display colors, stones, and musk, they step off the plane in a different country filled with excitement freckled with uncertainty, and they kiss their first crush in the parking lot overrun by feathered weeds. Everyone expands and mixes, and the place is a soup of human experiences. The more they expand the more that these disparate cultures and memories mix into a common shared human epic, as it’s meant to be.
Copyright Joy Q Zhang, 2018
Published in "Momentum" poetry magazine at Georgia Tech