by MAY ZHENG (United States)
Issue 1.3 December 2019
Air sticks to my skin,
like honey. Mosquitos circle my ankles and wrists:
malevolent humming uncomfortably
woven with the scent of muddy pondwater and threads of cigarette smoke.
Chinese songs from the 80s link arms with the clogged breeze,
dragging the sound of a few dozen scuffed shoes shuffling
on the old gray pavement of the square behind them.
My grandfather's voice drifts from my right to land in my ears, like a
freshly carved and polished canoe settling into water: with modest majesty and grace
and a quiet assertion of credibility.
He's talking about the history of the park,
about the types of plants that the breeze struggles to draw whispers from in this soggy heat,
about the walks he took my mother and my uncle on through these knobby paths that looks like a
series of wizened stone knuckles emerging from the ground,
but my four-year-old mind wanders off to
lulled by the sound of hundreds of insects, humans, leaves
performing a rhythmless dance, carving out shapeless dents in the humid air.
May Zheng, 16, lives in New Jersey. She's an only child and finds solace in putting graphite on paper or pixelized words on screens. Music, friendship, and risk-taking are central to her outlook on life.