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By Ellen Zhang

Sometimes, my head fits perfectly between the curves of my mother’s chest.

Echoing are the beats of longing. I picture my brother running, returning.

A volcano explodes in the pacific. I imagine it catapulting my brother

back to me. And even the red sea parts for him to come back.

I don’t know how to color white picket fences, bring back the American Dream

turn syllables into a physical display of my soul, wax poetry.

Today, the blueberries are budding evenly like rosary beads.

I pluck some to take home. There is no academic term for what I’m feeling.

I wrote about breaking at the seams, heart breaking,

breaking down, breaking away. In reality, numbness.

How do you name love, hold it like a son? How to hold onto hope

without having it melt to mix with the saltiness of my palms? How to

say I miss you without having to say goodbye.


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.

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