Amador Valley High School
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.
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