Speaking Plainly

Ellen Zhang

of loss, rivered with guilt and grief. Magnolia petals
     curve above us, readying to bloom. No longer
do I ask you to reconsider. Nor argue terms and
     conditions of your words, your world. Nor
ask the river to come around. After all, it flows
     unidirectionally, unlike fluids of your heart.
Consider these tiny murmurs, tiny deaths.

Last autumn, I coaxed you to stay longer. Show me
     diluted reflections of your body. Confess to me
the unnamed loneliness. Pedal time backwards to
     grow secrets as cool and sweet as mangos.

It’s up to you how to shoulder time. Every day,
     I find less of you wilting in the bed. Awaken to find
more of you laying inside my throat, feathering
     through my lungs, silvering between my voice.
So much revealed as we peel back the arches
     of days. So much remains even as I start letting
go. As hues of pink blossom, what unfolds inside us?


Ellen Zhang is a student at Harvard Medical School who has studied under Pulitzer Prize winner Jorie Graham, poet Rosebud Ben-Oni, and poet Josh Bell. She has been recognized by the 2022 DeBakey Poetry Prize, 2022 Dibase Poetry Contest, and as a 2019 National Student Poet Semifinalist. Her works appear or are forthcoming in The Shore Poetry, Southward Literary Journal, Hekton International, and elsewhere. She can be found on instagram @ln.writes

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