Montage of the Bench Dusting at Perrin Park By Ava Chen

Montage of the Bench Dusting at Perrin Park

You sweep your papery arm, loam
& pine pollen susurrating an arabesque.

Shadows scintillate your war-blued arteries
almost lurid. Your teeth, dandelions.

Zhè me yī xià,
the fish just skitter into our fingers!

you exclaim. Thirty years lisp away, rhythmic.

Salt-twinged recession bares conch shrapnel & oysters:
we drift to shore together,
entropy lapped back in dry foam.

I crinkle past your crow’s feet branching
deep into your temples,
smell ocean in your sclera.

This rib cage bench we hobble away from
brands instance under a metal tongue.

Your daughter sings once-jocular folklore:

a thatched roof crumbles under Japanese foray,
just missing your fleeing shape—

only thing intact a pot of beef steaming merrily
under the unraveled straw.

Between these characters, generations
slope brick & bokeh liminal,
erode sky a bruised Gaussian maelstrom,
blur over soot-sutured faces.

Next time we sluice Boston Harbor to fulfill the saltwater
etched in your face,

you’re already
sagging in your daughter’s arms.

The floating convenience café waitress offers
a steaming mug, a plastic cake slice.

The frothy egg you beat for my favorite golden dish:
aerated palette,
shimmering edge,
clouds by the second—

by each coveted wisp of your smile.

The baby pink of pomelo droplets:

your deer-soft irises curl untouched,

gilding sweet in the eulogy your daughter—
my mother—
weaves you.

Today, I may find your handprint
if sunlight shafts just right,

peripheral lunula evanescing bone-gray
between armrest ribbons.

Under a waxing dusk:
albedo slants, winks away.

By Ava Chen


Ava Chen is a 16-year-old poet based in Massachusetts. Her work is forthcoming in Scapegoat Review and The Daphne Review. When not writing, she can usually be found taking long walks or rewatching Christopher Nolan movies.

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