Recipe for Loneliness



We tell each other about our fantasies over

    the phone, like how he wants me to touch him

under the table at a bar, or how I’d like for us

    to have our way with each other in a moving

vehicle in the middle of the night, and maybe

    the windows should be down, letting us feel

the breeze at 3 AM, and I’ll reminisce on simpler

    times of body shots and grinding at clubs—


and we move onto dreams, dirty dreams involving

    each other, and I tell him about the dream I had

the night before, of us locked in a room of glass

    walls, making love in front of a revolving door

of audience members coming in and out, like a mixed

    reviews exhibit at a museum of contemporary art,

and with each new person entering, he enters me

    a little deeper, and I moan a little harder, a little


faster, a little crazier—positive feedback loop, yes,

    eyes rolled behind my head, and I’m such a fan

of modern architecture, but tonight, I wonder if there

    actually is a cure for loneliness, other than finding

someone long distance to pass the time with, maybe

    something a little more, and I think about how

celebrities freak at the sight of all-glass houses,

    their lives on further display, and when I play


simulation games, my avatars always put on a show

    in all-glass rooms, and I think, at heart, we’re all

exhibitionists, who want every single grand thing

    this world has to offer, like the Romans with their

Corinthian columns, or what about Renaissance art,

    for instance, Donatello’s naked beautiful boy David

working it, foot on Goliath’s head, and on the phone,

    I’m hungry for this man I share fantasies with, but



    for real, I’m also hungry for dessert—

    something decadent like coconut and sago soup,

    and any recipe that calls for coconut milk

    is always a winner, so wash and cut

    your 2/3 lb. of fresh taro into thick slices,

    then steam on a plate for 30 minutes, until

    softened. Press to purée. Soak your sago

    for about half an hour, then boil two cups


    of water. Add in your sago and cook until

    it turns transparent. Take a sieve and dip

    in cold water, removing any stickiness.

    Drain well. Boil 2 ½ cups of water. Add

    in sago, sugar, and taro purée. Bring to a boil.

    Add in coconut milk (the best part!).

    Bring to a boil and pour in evaporated milk.

    Mix well. Serve hot or cold. But really, cold.



And I’m hungry for this man I share fantasies with,

    and doesn’t a photo just make you crave the real

thing, the real flesh even more, he asks me, and yes,

    that’s true, and I picture all the masterpieces of

nude beauties with the softest skin in the world,

    the way it feels so real on canvas, then the way

I wish I could touch him over the phone tonight,

    and oh, I crave and I crave and crave and crave.

Dorothy Chan is the author of Chinese Girl Strikes Back (Spork Press, forthcoming), Revenge of the Asian Woman (Diode Editions, March 2019), Attack of the Fifty-Foot Centerfold (Spork Press, 2018), and the chapbook Chinatown Sonnets (New Delta Review, 2017). She is a 2019 recipient of the Philip Freund Prize in Creative Writing from Cornell University, a 2014 finalist for the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship, and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in POETRY, The American Poetry Review, Academy of American Poets, The Cincinnati Review, Quarterly West, The Offing and elsewhere. Chan is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and Poetry Editor of Hobart.