Audio: "goldfish," read by Lily Wang
for two cents, the man
answering will reach into the ocean
open another sail & draw
a second sky. in this picture
the sky was never just blue
but pink & yellow & orange long before
sunset—in your version of the story, lao lao,
the bottle makes it across
oceans & will wait on gaping sands for the promise
that even a family of dandelion hopes
rooted in the present
will make their way back on August winds.
for a hundred ren min bi, the girl
will pirate away the gold,
will wish you, lao lao, “fortune like the east sea
& a lifetime like the south mountain.” if these words
come out with static, then nine years
has drifted a summer into a stranger, between us
is the trans-pacific cable & there’s a girl yelling
in background, her sand castle was melting
too early, she was lost in the currents
between us, our paper card promises, a deep ultramarine.
for three thousand dollars, mama
will buy the ticket. one-way & not home.
in the wrinkles of her eyes
there are long nights & somehow we still fit
two shots, polymer masks, a thousand
paper cranes & still everything
is left behind. the sky
should have been grey. in your stories
it’s always the ones smoking delicate arcs
& curves of dreams,
life, oxford comma before
stage 4 lung cancer, who disappear
into silence, into grey.
but lao lao, what if people become stones.
what if they sink after a few skips, even in this rain
only the bottle is allowed
to be made of glass.
for one inch of time, the girl
chasing the leaving wave, will swim across
the glass earth & find the blurring,
in her story there is a bottle, inside:
a goldfish & two cents.
Lily Wang is a 16 year old living near the New Jersey shore. She often goes there to rollerblade or just to look around. With this piece, she hoped to write about the ocean that’s always there and the horizon that can bring everything closer.
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5/17/22, 4:27 PM
5/16/22, 11:40 AM
I am waiting with anxiety what does she doesto fight back these things which are very complicate to handle for a teenager...... I am Very anxious because I am in the same situation..... So I want to know what will she do.....
5/15/22, 3:16 PM
This is such a wonderful piece. I love it so much!
Rain Wind Thunderstorm
5/13/22, 10:46 AM
You are really good at writing. And at such a young age! If you don't mind me saying so, your writing style is warm and cozy. And also at the same time, very deep, meaningful and relatable. I especially loved the "The Reflection" part.
5/13/22, 9:28 AM
I really wanna know what does she does to fight back these things which are hard to handle for a teenager.
5/11/22, 2:37 PM
I loved every word of this. Maybe because I am relating too hard. I hardly possess any of the love or filial piety I am expected to have towards my family. I am dubious of anything my grandmother says to me and have long learned to just swallow it all with a smile though I question how much I know. And. Just. Knowing. That you will be forgotten by your extended family for the rest of the year but still held up to their expectations. Thank you for writing this! I'll always remember a beautiful #ownvoices story :).
5/10/22, 6:57 AM
I really am curious about how she is gonna fight this situation and will she be able to fulfill her dreams which she once had
5/6/22, 2:03 PM
Ooh I really love this! What a great ending too. Fellow students, we've got this!
5/6/22, 1:53 PM
I love this piece so much. Novels and writing rarely makes me cry, but this was just too relatable.
5/6/22, 1:51 PM
This was so beautiful, and created such a detailed image in my mind!
5/6/22, 11:35 AM
I thought that was a truly insightful piece. As a teen writer myself, your words were a refreshing reminder of the meaning behind adolescence. Thank you for bringing your writing into the world, and hope to see more of it soon.