Red Weather

Cindy Xin

Albany, CA

Albany High School

Poetry

This is where it ends: Limbs unearthed to light,

your breath swelling the laundry— farther, then closer.

If your daughter had returned, you’d show her

to write a real letter, one that is consumed and

never forgotten. If she had returned, you wouldn’t

be standing behind the pool, tinsel scattered

copiously upon the surface. She wouldn’t have

left your arms for the ones of the world, the barbed

wire fingers igniting her hair. She wasn’t a child.

You had taught her about choking hazards and

powerlines, the decadence of pollen on the arms—

the danger of forgetting the body one begins with.

How loneliness hurts, but how it worsens once a

boy can stick his teeth in it. Or if you hadn’t said it,

you had definitely shown it, tied it to your neck,

burned it into the oxygen. Nights drawled recklessly

around the living room, crept everywhere, stole your

things, left her a hostage. But it had been raining.

Things had been falling. You had been forgetting.

Hadn’t you left the door locked throughout the day?

Hadn’t the dishes been half-washed, not too clean

as to attract any wreckage? This is where it ends:

Your hands wrinkled, even before the rain. The rain

leaving, leaving, leaving. The sun returning without notice.


EDITORIAL PRAISE

Every time I think I know what this piece is about, it changes direction. But the scattered regret and heart-wrenching guilt is present in every word.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cindy Xin is a student at Albany High School in Albany, CA. She will graduate in 2020.