feverish & in the aftermath everything looked the same. only my
tongue, moving over the shadow
of a faceless language. time comes to a standstill. august’s mouth stretched
at night we mistake the dip of the heated valley for something more absolute:
everything suddenly collapsible &
geometric like it was meant to be. & a brief clarity:
I search for solutions in our shadows
bisecting each other’s shadows against the wall
which is to say obtuse & fractured & pulling apart & at night I find unusual blades to part
the physics of forgetting—the
slippery, unquiet shape of it. how precise.
in the aftermath I tighten my grip around the antlers of the washed out sky.
we are so poised
& dissonant in the labyrinth of our own unlearning of home.
how everything becomes an elegy to
distance once we looked away long enough & what to do with
that touchless, agitated echo but let it run over the piano
in the dark. all this
to say we are in the aftermath, but I am still trying to
name the odd stiffness with which
glass breaks &
the white noise in my ears. how ordinary. tell me again about the birds,
circling in another country, their bodies certain & dark
& dizzying overhead.
Alena Zeng is a student from California. Her work has been recognized nationally by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. When she isn’t reading or writing, she can be found playing the piano or taking long walks.