Poetry, Sophia Zuo
ode to chopsticks
symbol of sustenance and
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:
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 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
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.