In these blue-white glades
Shanghai, encysted to the moon. Suspended
in the grass-fished air. Below, a seething dialect.
To domesticate language, I pried open the throat,
rimmed its cilia with haunted prayers.
Where dull souls chanted the same: open, open, open
Here, we opened the lights. Pried open bulb-mercury like fruit.
Shanghainese was a corn rind, the sound of static tuts
and shrieks, spit leaves, rusted breathing.
To swallow that language, I stained my teeth.
I wondered if I could escape that place. It knocked me
when I went outside it. To America, washed
like fruits in the sink. Peeled the calcified lips
off my face, split hers into lullaby.
I didn’t know her songs became lesions. Blades.
In these blue-white glades, I said something
smaller than the moon. Fit it in the palm of my hand,
and I lost it. When I opened my fingers, America
had already cradled it away like an afterthought.
By Jenny Shi
Jenny Shi is a senior at Palo Alto High School in California. A recent graduate of Fir Acres Writing Workshop, Jenny has blossomed into the world of poetry. Prior to that, she won a Scholastic Art and Writing award for a nonfiction essay (she prefers poetry). Additionally, she is a visual artist whose knowledge of the sciences seeps into her brushes. Jenny speaks three languages: English, Mandarin, and Spanish, and her favorite food is any kind of noodle.