in sakura park, you learn to cry. claremont avenue
and you’re kissing the hudson river and then the

cherry blossoms are falling, falling, falling with
your pink tears until their branches curl towards

the ground, stripped bare and brown. blossom sobs,
stifled by the desperate vines that run off the walls—

gather them up by the fistfuls and press their cold
leaves against your cheeks—is this what they

meant, this growing up? weary days birthed from the
crow’s feet that suck saltwater from burnt eyelashes,

an evolving indifference, a vigil of quieted guilt
accompanied by the birds who flee in midwinter,

mourning this becoming and watching it spin off
the edge? you sigh and pull wet gray cotton from the

sky, wringing it out with callusing palms. the river
drowns under the weight of it all, beneath what you

thought were god’s tears but now know are simply
human, sputtering, flawed. the drought-stricken side-

walks eagerly suck up the overflow. from afar, fallen
blossoms silently shrivel; they, too, learn to age.

Amy Liu is a high school student from Long Island, New York. Her work has been nationally recognized by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards and the National Council of Teachers of English. Her poetry is found or forthcoming in The Rising Phoenix Review, Small Leaf Press, and more.

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