All the Worlds We Left Behind By Amy Zhou

All the Worlds We Left Behind

I’ve entered and I’m going
I was born with a spine
tucked into my chest, fingers wide
with gaps
crescents              tucked into my fingernails.
I was made to hold water
but let it leave— born with
a set of gills
instead of teeth.

I’ve entered and I’m going again.
I heard them singing last night—
open                   and arms wide,
chests tilting                 into the sky.

It was the first time I heard something,
anything, for a long time.
They stood in their small bodies,
flattening their foreheads,
carrying away their song
until it was just
and drip.

I’ve entered and I’m going again.
I asked her if she was
Our backs are bruised, our knees
It is time for
the sky to change.

I started seeing
shadows under
her eyes and there was a
quality to her oscillating movements.
I wonder if she still
hears me.

I’ve entered and I’m going again.
Everything has started
grey. The stripes melt
off my shirts
and the flag            and my skin
and I think something big must be happening.

A shivering cold is surging now
under the crust of the earth,
and soil starts swallowing
rivers and the last
of olive and rain, cavities
blooming under rusting mud.
Smoke whirs through red skies and we wonder
where everything has gone.

I have long dreamt of hunger but never wake satiated.

The sun remains scalloped inside the
and even he        has started wilting
in this desert
heat. So we stay here,           orbiting,

73 degrees per minute, and soon
we will see:
the callouses in our shaking palms, reaching
for our cold, wavering dreams.

By Amy Zhou


Author_Photo_Amy_ZhouAmy Zhou is an aspiring high school writer from The College Preparatory School in Oakland, California. She has been recognized for her poetry and short fiction by The New York Times, the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, Frontier Poetry, and Hollins University. She has been featured in various literary journals and serves as the Editor-in-Chief for her school’s newspaper, The Radar, literary publication, The Steele, and art magazine, ArtsMag.


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