i’m the only visitor at the planetarium. the tour guide leads me to a room of staggering brightness.
this is every star in the universe, she says, if we could see forever. the wavelengths of young stars tint the light blue. i
say, wait. we’re outside. that’s only the sky. i look again at the tour guide. she is only a balloon caught in
the branches of a new sapling, thin arms reaching, shiny letters spelling congrats.
i walk until i find a telescope. in the viewfinder, i watch myself in another life. there’s my bed,
suspended in the night sky. there’s me lying supine, light seeping out of my pores and pooling in the
sheets. no matter how many times i look, i can’t decide whether i’m brimming over or hemorrhaging.
Sheila Dong is a nonbinary Chinese-American writer based in the desert. A 2021 Best of the Net nominee and alum of Oregon State University’s MFA program, they have had work appear in Radar, SOFTBLOW, Menacing Hedge, Heavy Feather Review, and other places. Their chapbook Moon Crumbs debuted with Bottlecap Press in 2019. Read more at sheiladong.carrd.co.
© Variant Literature Inc 2021