Nobody Comes Back to Detroit If They Can Help It

The shifting of evergreens. What is enough 
to make you stay?
I want to be the unbearable
weight. Which is to say, there's a wanting winter inside
of my lungs. Sometimes parents and children become 
the most common strangers. Sometimes all I remember 
is the sadness of facts without facts. Sometimes I
want a third opinion, forgetting there's only one. 

Life tumbles out of something. It always does. Think of 
gauze, tightness of music, vibrations gathering density. 
Salt is the taste of death while still living. Sureness 
lines my tongue. Consider the way light fades into
shadows without any quivering. The way we say
circumstances for when things fray. The way 
we use buzzwords like pinpricks of light, casino signs.

My mother teaches me that it doesn't matter how I pray.
Shape of my hands melding over the dinner table.
What do you pray for? These words haunt me.
By definition I am a person who has won. These days
spiral like honeycombs, finicky as brackish water. Spilling,
my identity leaves traces on paper unfolding and folding
origami ideas not yet broken into. First two folds are the same.

My brother sleepwalks among spirits. I know because
it's the only way I find him. I dream of missed connecting
flights. Of ridges of fingerprints sharpening. You, out there,
there are so many ways to say goodbye?
Turn them over
and over in your mind. Just words and five letters. Willing 
to fury. Willing to jump down to be with. Willing to write
this. A single being is never enough. 

Ellen Zhang is an undergraduate student at Harvard University majoring in the life sciences. She serves as Editor-In-Chief of Harvard Prescriptions, and her poems appear in The Albion Review, Cuckoo Quarterly, The Quotable, several anthologies, and elsewhere. Ellen has received recognition from Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, Presidential's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, and Michigan State University. She has also studied under Jorie Graham and Joshua Bell. (ellenzhangwriting@gmail.com)

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761