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ode to chopsticks + how to fall

Poetry, Sophia Zuo

ode to chopsticks

symbol of sustenance and

flammable simplicity,

which auntie dreamt up

a world where two branches

could become my roots?

just two scrappy sticks, you were meant

to pinch, to hold, to nourish

the tool of beggars and concubines

you don’t discriminate

between the handsy and handsome,

just the handless.

and when i handle you,

i think of my mother’s hands

pouring over mine

like a river spring

washing away invisible dirt

from invisible wounds.

yes, you and her taught me how

this world works:

ever parallel,

you draw lines perpendicular to chubby Gods

i don’t know the names of

and mark intersections to broken roads

i’ll never travel.

family i’ll never meet.

but, it’s ok

i know how it feels

to hold two things between my fingers

and never have them touch,

a million of millets scattered in between.

how to push a door just enough

to leave a strip of light tattooed on the floor,

a yellow path that whispers:

things come and go all the time.

what i mean to say is,

you give me a sense of control.

as you have for hundreds of years

stay here, unbending to time,

supple between my fingertips.


how to fall

you gasp. it stings.

what is it?

the feeling of falling.

you brush past planets, inhaling asteroid dust and having stars tangle in your jetty hair,

you watch lilies unfold in bloom and fold back into themselves,

breathing and wilting and breathing again in technicolor.

remember youth? when your hands were as small and swollen as a bee?

when you were dressed in white when the world was gray, and you did not know

it yet?

it is enough. you think. this is enough.

as you fall past yourself, you catch a shard of glass.

it is smudged and foggy. it is from your bathroom mirror.

it is from 3 years ago, when you tried.

it stings, you think, picking it up. why?

you swept the glass up and hid it

in the bin. you cried for a bit and got back up.

you pretended that it wasn’t you reflected in

the shrapnel and

the world was not closing.

you are in your bathroom again.

it is now, not 3 years ago. now.

i think you can remember.

you and the sun are nothing but

dying stars,

marveling at your own destruction.


Sophia Zuo (she/her) is a poet based in Taiwan. Her poetry can be found or is forthcoming in Berkeley Poetry Review, Capsule Stories, and OA mag. In her free time, she likes reading modern lit. and listening to good music.


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