summer coda

today, everything has taken on a curiously
cold gleam; the sky shifts
for hours in the unripe morning before
breaking all apart, clouds rippling along their fault lines.

November effaces restlessly. today, I
have dissected the shadows clinging to
the broad undersides of the tree’s leaves.
they worry over each other

before slipping to the ground,
smelling of sunsets bleeding into the skyline
and a whole summer’s worth of
parched, yellowing fields—I’ve

worried over this memory from the summer until its edges have gone
soft with retellings, all broadening sunlight and
desiccated wind emptying over our heads.
surely all these uneasy distances between us will

lie still one day, pooling together like melting snow
under the weight of a damp spring tide,
the dissolving seasons, your hands. today,
my hands feel like thunder, and the air tastes like rain,

thickening under the tongue. meanwhile, the gray sky deepens, lengthens
under the sharpening morning light, and worries itself smooth.

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.

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