there’s a word in another language that means
the maternal sorrow reflected in the moon’s image
on dark water: mangata. i sift through stacks &
stacks of newspaper clippings to find your name
but the heavens are often callous with our hearts,
stumbling mindlessly & throbbing beatlessly.
i wonder if our reflections are ever really ours,
ever really the same when spinning or flipping
upside down rightside leftside, somersaulting across a
shiny river, crawling along the sides of moving cars.
they are a life of their own—ripples in the lake make
me think of time, ripples in blue fabric stretching
us open & stuffing us with loneliness until we are
the teddy bears in our bedrooms, the discarded
reminders of a stop drop childhood. & this is where
it all begins and ends: torn edges of your reflection
blur, toeing the ripples and gently rolling into mine.
ann thinks sometimes she
can’t stand the weight of
the world, curving spine
like a willow tree bent over
a river. tucking the dos and
don’ts like glass shards
under her tongue. salivating.
in the context of all this,
nothing matters except the
taste of blood in a mouth
slicing a tongue undone.
there are too many things
left unsaid. ann imagines
her lips to be two thin flat
stones and if she rubbed
them together hard enough
there might be a fire. she
imagines there to be a fire
in her cheek. she turns her
cheek to look down at her
palm. she thinks, all these
body parts yet we are still
trembling like embryos in
God’s hands. maybe this is
what creation is: to be born
in something foreign, familiar.
EVENING IN PINK
When evening comes, the sun gathers
birds in its arms and bleeds all over them.
Everything is pink—tongue of a river as
it spills into an overflowing basin, tongue of
a turtle as it walks a cement transit.
My mother stoops over the river with a
washcloth twisted in her hands, swatting
at the flies lazily circling, petals curling
in the wind. Nothing quite sounds the same
after the crickets make their first call—
the world falls away and the silence births
a new night, trembling like a newborn.
I grip for the wind but the wind doesn’t
grip back. I think of the sunset and how
to preserve it in the palm of my hand as
the birds escape into the slow moving mist.
CINDY SONG is a rising senior at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville, Maryland. Her writing appears in Words Dance, Cadaverine Magazine, CICADA Magazine, and elsewhere. Besides writing, she likes to play tennis and take long walks in nature.