Self-Portrait as a Studio Ghibli Soundtrack
- after Joe Hisaishi

At the train station, I promise to tell her the truth:
that I'll never be the rain after a wildfire

or a summer heavy with honeycombs.
In my dreams, ivory wolves slip among us,

and a copper sun devours long grass.
On the side of the mountain where the light

never touches, trees whittle the wind hollow.
A gun blooms from my mouth

aimed at my ugly, beautiful sister.
How do I tell her about my canyon-carved spine,

this heart: a terrible sforzando. That wolves
hunt their prey into dawn's final drum.

All my life, I've chased after poems I've loved and hated
and every single one that ran away.

Now I capture our war, the notes red
and slick in my hands, a silver line rising

from the oboe. The train slows. Between us: a platform
or a symphony. A chord breaks loose,

and I know how this ends: my soldier-boy words
marching over the cliff, smoke and iron surging

against a horn. My sister—gone,
the song thrumming away, leaving nothing

but deer roaming through the forest.

Grace Q. Song is a Chinese-American writer residing in New York. Her poetry and fiction have been published or are forthcoming in Storm Cellar, Four Way Review, Passages North, PANK, and elsewhere. A high school senior, she enjoys listening to ABBA and Russian waltzes. She tweets @grasoceng. (

Boxcar Poetry Review - ISSN 1931-1761