Ephemerality as Haibang

There, through the car window. The sky a brocade of shimmery dark
            velvet. I am nothing more than a moment here. Just today,

I ate haibang for the first time in years, the shelled flesh
            soft and mushier than I remembered, my molars sinking

right through. I swallowed anyway. It didn’t taste
            like the ocean anymore. Instead, my father’s scarred hands, wielding

kitchen blade, sawing away at the mollusks’ mouths to split
            open their bodies like a surgeon at the operating table.

I have never memorized the map of stars, never been taught how
            to read them. I watched the disassembled shellfish meat swirl

in the clear container, limp before the fire. Here, on the ride
            home, I wonder if everyone believes they are permanent until they

become witness to another death, if someone out there is rolling
            down the window to get closer to the stars only to realize

there is no proximity to immortality. Tonight the moon is a
            slip of gold hooked into the dark. A beautified reflection of

what I’ve stomached. I know I will get lost up there after my last breath.
            My hands tremble in the safety of my lap; it must be the cold.

This is a reprint of work originally published in Kissing Dynamite.

Sandra Lin (林诺晨) is a Chinese American born in Manhattan, New York, who currently attends Bell High School in Florida. She is a Scholastic Art & Writing Awards National Gold Medalist, national winner of JUST POETRY!!!, the first-place winner for the 2021 Polyphony Lit Fall Contest and the 2022 Nancy Thorp Poetry Contest, as well as a finalist for The Lumiere Review’s 2022 Prose Contest. Sandra is working on The Heima Project, a platform that aims to empower marginalized voices in literature. To be a part of this project, contact her on Instagram and Wattpad (@sandranuochen) or her website: https://sandranuochen.carrd.co.

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