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.
9/23/21, 7:15 PM
The last sentence, "Hush, hush, hush, you're not alone, adds a nice ending to the poem. I like the ambiguity.
8/10/21, 3:55 PM
That was so beautiful
8/4/21, 11:01 AM
Ah Tiffany - I LOVE this piece, and the ending.. it's so powerful and incredibly moving. Well done!
8/4/21, 11:00 AM
Well done Chris! I feel like I am right there in the street.. such a beautiful use of language in this poem.
8/4/21, 10:59 AM
Ah what a beautiful piece.. I can feel the promise in this morning.. like I do on summer mornings where I live. Beautifully read too!
7/30/21, 7:24 PM
7/27/21, 6:01 PM
This is beautiful, I love your use of onomatopoeia
7/23/21, 12:22 PM
7/21/21, 3:37 PM
7/21/21, 1:23 PM
Pain and nostalgia conveyed beautifully!
7/21/21, 8:35 AM
This is an amazing poem! The mixed feelings we have when we leave our home or city we grew is beautifully portrayed
7/21/21, 12:22 AM
Absolutely stunning, the detail and diction is incredible.