Titania

Annie Zhu

Natick, MA

Walnut Hill School for the Arts

Poetry

i. childhood

Lisa,

I would like to sleep

             amidst the ballooning animals

of a forest. a sweet, hollow donkey

        should be my pillow.

I am alone in the house

             with my sleeping dog,      laying

in my parents’ bed with the          sensual

             smell of orange

                          blossoms and concrete

against the nerves in my hair. a swelling  heavy

scent. a city steeped in darjeeling–

             that’s lisa frank in a field of flowers.

I pray with the back end of a comb in my mouth

every night for your return. red beans

             and homemade jelly, baby,

             in a street filled with camels.

                          Lisa, I pray with the back end of a comb

                          in my mouth that

that’s lisa frank in a field of flowers.

ii. jenny

my naked, lurid

             backside. jenny likes

      this transient skin, Lisa,

and

iii. dreaming of O.

I lost a necklace of baby

             teeth. in the airport–       a couple

with the same limp looked

             so suspicious

to me. their son dogging after them

             in a wheelchair. . .  without my gent-

-le fairy,

                          my hair wakes up warmly

damp

             to brunch. Lisa,  give

                  me Casey. Give me Casey. . .

             an illusion. a soft and able-bodied aphid

atop a field of lotus heads, porous

             like the delicate

        legs of a garden hose.

she sprayed their slender pear bodies

             into a sheer and disappearing

        prism. Lisa in the summer,  running

alongside Hunter

              and Forrest.     Lisa.

                                        Lisa.

                                        Lisa.

Lisa shining when the light

     SHIFTS in the lazy child-

       hood shed. Caddie dies

                            a thousand

  times. headless Barbie still,

                                  smiling.

                a Sticker Sheet lurid in the sun.

EDITORIAL PRAISE

Titania depicts the loss of childhood beautifully. The title encapsulates its fey-like quality, and the reference to A Midsummer Night’s Dream is fitting, as the poem calls to mind a shimmering summer’s dream—yet, at the same time, there’s an undercurrent of darkness that reveals its complexity. Titania bespeaks Zhu’s mature, compelling, and innovative voice.

Annie Zhu is from Silicon Valley, California, but attends Walnut Hill School of the Arts in Natick, Massachusetts. She is a writing, film, and media arts major there. She’ll graduate in 2021. Go class of 21!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR