Grievances – Sophie Zhu

The sycamores swaying
in reprise, our voices

drifting in fracture.
This distance is soft

with Mama’s breath,
as we’d imagined it.

Ghosts of a womb
tuck the air in guilt,

our throats heavy
with apology. Tonight,

the pale moonbeams
will rattle our bodies

apart, limbs sighing
into the dirt. How

do we tell Mama
we are sorry if

our mouth is knotted?
We let the wind

set still into our
tongues, burn it to

ready us for the
battlefield. The fires

razing our skin, hills
drooping in mist. You

thumbed the smoke
into summer—summer

of our frames hunched
in shame. Mama folded

in sorrow, light
against feeble railings,

like children trust
falling into space.

Perhaps we, too,
will be forgiven

on the field, sky
shrouding our faults.

Sophie Zhu is a high school freshman from New York. An Adroit Journal 2020 summer mentee and COUNTERCLOCK Arts Collective 2020 fellow, she is the editor-in-chief of Dishsoap Quarterly. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Half Mystic Journal and Eunoia Review.

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