I am

I am

Marilyn Zhang | Art by Jennifer Xu

I am.


I am a star in the sky,

the one that glitters even when the night is darker

than Sylvia Plath’s bell jar.

I shine by myself, alone at doomsday,

igniting the night, photon by photon, until suddenly,

I find myself glimmering in a crowd, overtaken

by other people’s shadows–

longer, wearier, and darker than my own–

but ultimately

illuminating the entire universe.


I am a waft of clouds

that joins a million others,

in floating up towards the sky,

past the things that sink,

rising above the 

complicated statistics and multisyllable words

that twist from iron-clad chains.

I follow the wind,

to where it may take me,

and make my own–

every breath, every gulp, every scream

is a little chisel, sculpting my own sky.


I am Point B

for my younger sister’s Point A.

the firm, big hands, 

that know how to stretch across the sky

for a pair of morning-grass-fresh young ones,

purer than morning dew.

the eyes that, like stars,

have seen a fair share of the darker corners of the world,

for the bright young ones, 

that have but just opened to let the warm sun in.

the voice, gentle but firm, 

like the voice of the wind in the sky

for the times when her own will quiver and drop.

I am but a whisper 

on the face of this world,

one that will melt

with the volcanoes that rise and fall

with each heartbeat of this Earth.

I am but a whisper

in the air hanging above this world,

one that will mix and mend

with the double-edged swords and cherry-blossom hearts

of the words of the ancestors buried below us.

Soon, soon, I will disappear.

But I am also the loudest whisper.