MANGATA 

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.

 

UNFAMILIARITY 

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.