Shades of White

Lian Wang

Mercersburg, PA

Mercersburg Academy

Poetry

When the clock flashes

10:30, an hour past goodnight

Curled under the

moon 

and stars of her duvet

and the glow of Skype, a circle of

bubbles scurrying as if

gravity had hauled them down and

swung them back up 

saying

Don’t trip

 

The faint whiff intertwined with the

scratched leather chair

Musty

That nineteenth-century trading map she doesn’t

read but

breathes

 

Every other page in her calligraphy booklet

She traces

so carefully the aged rhymes 

And somehow the nib never

tears through and the ink never

blossoms nor bleeds

 

Linted blankets and woolen socks

Flinches followed by

laughs 

The mask of Ghostface

The sheets into which they poke 

holes and under which they

shroud themselves 

 

Blinking, lidded with sleep

Sprawled across the pristine sheets, dazed

She studies the

shadows the tilted blinds the

print upon her 

two hands 

 

The wilted daisies she 

Sweeps away to replace with new ones

She knows they too will fade soon

Like the cinders from

the cheap, paper coins she burns

Icy in the crackling flames

 

She kneels for a while and when 

She gets up

Crystals cascade

down her sleeves

Fluttering

Dwindling

They vanish

And she leaves to

continue

EDITORIAL PRAISE

This piece makes the night almost alive: not in a terrifying way, nor a dark one, but one borne of strange, lyrical, and almost relatable observation. A gorgeous little poem.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lian Wang grew up in Beijing, China, and now attends Mercersburg Academy, a boarding school in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania. There, aside from classwork, she spends most of her time reading and dancing.