Literature Minying Huang Poetry

nirvana in pyjamas

Minying Huang


lăo lao sits in lotus position on the bed,
the end of the world in her belly. she is
curiously absent in the room, looks the
eternal to my fidget. Yíng Yíng twiddles
her thumbs to shake the absence off the
covers but still she will not budge. listen,
kid, to time as it disappears, in one ear
and out the other like every word that’s
ever been spoken to you. jealous: what is
this empty she loves so much? the hush
is too much too much like muzzle like
rain so you imagine the rainbow flowers
on the sheets are dancing, that cartoon
ducks are flying off into the azure ether
then hurtling back into mouths young
and gabby coughing up feathers. you try
so hard to compete with the silence, put
your head in her lap when you shouldn’t,
want to bring her away from the solitude
you fear at night. incense and the image
of kindly eyes: weight in your hand. your
ribs clasp birds tight dreaming of escape,
who is that man that she loves so much?
you raise your head impatient, see eyelids
flutter to beat down low. the creases in
that yellow night shirt call to the lines on
your palms she traced the other day, her
voice soothing thrill rich in promise as she
mapped out cities, lights, and you in the
driver’s seat driving cloud cars up slanted
roads. you, fierce vision in loose-flowing
robes, swirl your hair snail shell, ribbon
exhaust fume trailing behind you. glory
is yours, xiăo jiě, you could be an almost
goddess, set us all on fire with your sun
but I want my energy to be forever so I
stir, dangle my feet off the bed, threaten
to fall three inches to the ground and pad
down the strip to my room to bend my
knee and hug it to my chest but find no
petals to unfold. there are gaps in this
body where compassion should live and
they bear down barren like lead on this
land, how can I rise to greet you at the
gate? Yíng Yíng bú pà, Yíng Yíng bú pà.1
èi, lăo lao, is this the end of the world?


1 Yíng Yíng’s not scared


Minying Huang grew up in Cambridge, UK. Her poems have appeared in PANK, Nat. Brut, daikon*, and Electric Literature, among others. She is studying for an MA in Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto. She tweets @minyingh and you can find more of her work at