June, moon, soon - why do the most beautiful words rhyme? Why do only the good die young?
There is purple, two syllables breaking upon salt lines. This is my mother’s favorite dress, her dancing to paint walls with fragrance, stretch marks dissipating distances. Star-shaped bruise blossoming like peonies, unforgiving, unapologetic as necessity of summer, leaving only a trail of shredding feathers. Her handprints & galaxies-- neither comprehensible to me, then.
Consider the way my father’s fingernails crescented under skin like liquid like glass like knives. Which is to say, stored, sharpened words spilling over like sorrow like blood, coagulating under lamplights illuminating purple promises into darkness. So easily exchanged: beauty & eerie.
The picture frame cradling this image of his lanky frame against knock-on wood door frame. Don’t you think it depends on how you frame the question? Not peonies, but something alighting red & ready. Folds of purple nights tingling with day: tasting of sureness, most paradoxical of hues. Sure, there is purple, but then there’s this.
-- Ellen Zhang is a student at Harvard Medical School who has studied under Pulitzer Prize winner Jorie Graham, poet Rosebud Ben-Oni, and poet Josh Bell. She has been recognized by the 2022 DeBakey Poetry Prize, 2022 Dibase Poetry Contest, and as 2019 National Student Poet Semifinalist. Her works appear or are forthcoming in Rappahannock Review, COUNTERCLOCK Journal, Hekton International, and elsewhere.