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Poem made from light

BY EMILY ZHANG

Richard Montgomery High School, '16
2016 Adroit Prize for Poetry: Editors' List

 

Liv and I go swimming and she
tells me about her dreams.

In them she holds a candle
to a forest. In them there are

no shadows, only light cast
clear and quick the way boats

throw fishing lines to the ocean.
I ask her about the wolves.

She doesn’t see them, or maybe
there aren’t any. The way depth

is only depth if you stretch
your eyes. Maybe she’s not

in a forest. Maybe she’s underwater
where the air presses against her.

I ask her about the fire. She says
she holds the candle until

it’s a part of her hand, the flame
burning quiet, nesting out an

opening where her body begins.
Sometimes the candle burns

until everything is hollow, until
there’s no difference between

a house drenched in gasoline
and the small of a back and the crest

of the water’s surface.  

 

Poem made from stones

BY EMILY ZHANG
 

Richard Montgomery High School, '16
2016 Adroit Prize for Poetry: Editors' List

 

When I dream of being a fish
everything is shiny. When Liv

and I visit the market all I see
are rows and rows of versions

of me. The anatomy of living
is so different, the word living

skinned so pink it swarms
the senses. I tell her this is all

some sort of reincarnation
and I believe it. I believe it

when we’re back with loose coins
rattling like bees in our pockets.

I believe it when we’re two states
over and throwing up

on street curbs, the champagne
flutes still in our hands, still

brimming over. Liv. There are many
ways to drown and none

of them begin like this.   

 

 

Emily Zhang is a high school student. Her writing has recently appeared in The Offing and The Kenyon Review, and was selected by Tarfia Faizullah as an Honorable Mention for the 2015 Adroit Prize for Poetry.