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summer coda

Alena Zeng

San Jose, CA

BASIS Independent Silicon Valley


CAS for Database

today, everything has taken on a curiously

cold gleam; the sky shifts

for hours in the unripe morning before

breaking all apart, clouds rippling along their fault lines.

November effaces restlessly. today, I

have dissected the shadows clinging to

the broad undersides of the tree’s leaves.

they worry over each other

before slipping to the ground,

smelling of sunsets bleeding into the skyline

and a whole summer’s worth of

parched, yellowing fields—I’ve

worried over this memory from the summer until its edges have gone

soft with retellings, all broadening sunlight and

desiccated wind emptying over our heads.

surely all these uneasy distances between us will

lie still one day, pooling together like melting snow

under the weight of a damp spring tide,

the dissolving seasons, your hands. today,

my hands feel like thunder, and the air tastes like rain,

thickening under the tongue. meanwhile, the gray sky deepens, lengthens

under the sharpening morning light, and worries itself smooth.


This piece was previously published Euonia Review in October 2020.


Handling the subject matter of the four seasons with grace, delicacy, and astonishing abstractness that requires a second read, the piece's beauty and nuance unearths itself with each additional reread. The end result is something as consuming and captivating as the changing seasons themselves.

Alena Zeng is a student from California. Her work has been recognized by the National YoungArts Foundation and the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. In her free time, she enjoys playing the piano and taking long walks.


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