Opening

Vivien Song

Pleasonton, CA

Amador Valley High School

Poetry

                    This song starts with a boy or a body

in the bathtub & the playlist stuck on

                     loop. Snow in the wrong season. I am

sorry. I forgot about the unlaced skates,

                     the unmoored ships. The ugliest things

float. Every night I make the same

                     mistake: the boy & the body &

the swimming pool armed in a coat of

                     iron. As if a body were anything more

than a fistful of dust, skidding gracelessly

                     across the rink before its collapse. From

my balcony, the pianist's papers crumbling

                     into the well. The backhand of the metronome.

Again & again. I am so sorry. I am greedy

                     & soft. I want to rewind the paths to the stars

I remember & beg the ocean to

                    swallow the clap of its thunderstorm.

Tell the pianist to save his longest pedal

                    for this song’s final gasp. Yes. Let’s begin

here: the moon sputtering to the surface.

                    This galaxy infinite & bright. Blink &

the lights will flicker like in a primordial

                    dream, the fallen city reclaiming its shores,

the gulls flying as if life never left. Look

                    how far we've come. Can you blame me

for these outstretched hands, tracing

                    stars on the empty & the hurt. Look—

I am holding the boy in the bathtub & singing.

EDITORIAL PRAISE

Abstract, tantalizing, effervescent. So many words to describe this poem. You blink once, and it's gone. So you return once, twice, three times; each time to dissect another brilliant, blossoming image. Each time to linger in the throb of its rhythm, head spilling with wonder.

Vivien Song is a senior from Amador Valley High School in Pleasanton, California. She will graduate in 2021. A 2020 National YoungArts Finalist in Poetry, her work appears or is forthcoming in Asian American Writers' Workshop: The Margins, Cosmonauts Avenue, and L'Éphémère Review, among others. Vivien likes long, aimless walks and overnight oats.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR