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after Lyn Hejinian

by Ariel So

Whether a memory or made-up scene, I envision the outdoor steps I

tripped over, the way oral history tripped me over its cracks. Much of

childhood is spent in a manner of waiting. My sister asked me to

attempt her name when I was old enough to speak. Seven too many

letters. Instead, I muttered the first letter twice, T-T: a nickname that

stuck. Years later, a mute man would come by our apartment and ring

the doorbell to sell his art. Though I was afraid to greet strangers, Dad

bought his painting, hung it on our wall: a Chinese goddess wearing

pure silk-white to cover herself. When the bloom unfolded—again

some years later—scenarios did too, as relics: Pink teenage hoodie,

empty bathroom stall. The autumn breeze, the hallway, the backdoor

staircase. Dirtied by hands at the Recreational Arts Center. Someone

to adore me. Unzipped. Get home. Dorm. Though moments are no

longer so colored. The sky split into three braids, and I forget now

which year is what.

Ariel Joy So is a Chinese poet—born and raised in Hong Kong—who has spent significant time living in Singapore and the United States. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Tupelo Quarterly, Bee Infinite Publishing, Protest Through Poetry, Sprague Gallery, and elsewhere. She graduated from Scripps College with a BA in English and Creative Writing Emphasis. Currently, she is an MFA Candidate in Poetry at Columbia University.


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