Everything grows into something it is not when the
shadows lick up the dirt from the bottom of my shoes
and the streetlights grow cold and still. A man pulled
on my arm today as I walked home from school, called
me a whore and said I was asking for it because young
girls like you should keep their pretty little faces hidden.
The veil feels like a suffocating jasmine night except
there aren’t any stars, and I liken it to drowning. Drown
under the blood flowing through stained streets and my
veins—the blood of martyrs, of patriots, of my uncle.
But even the veil cannot mask the death outside bam bam
whoosh and you think God when will they ever stop but
then you remember there is no God. You remember this
when your father was shot dead in the middle of the
street, fingers wrapped around his camera like smoke
figures searching for something concrete, something like
hope. You remember this when the girls don’t play with
the boys anymore, when the city no longer breathes silver
under the Western sun, when your mother cried in the
basement, when your uncle prayed for justice until his
last breath. There is no key to heaven, only the key to
rebirth. So the bombs keep coming and your only wish
is for them to turn into white doves and fly away,
bodies trembling like a ghost town we used to call home.
By Cindy Song
Cindy Song is a high school junior in Rockville, Maryland. Her writing has been recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, Hollins University, and National Poetry Quarterly. When she’s not writing, Cindy is can be found learning the guitar or watching her favorite TV shows.