Under the Orion Nebula, we questioned mortality,
fingered cliches. In vastness, I savored you.

Your telescope solidified us as we watched the oak
trees feathering shadows, studies in blue and wait.

My hand reaching into yours, prayer of hunger,
ribs silencing the way the last jigsaw puzzle slides

into scene of the lips of our worlds coming
together in this small apartment. Ours.

My body folds into your folds, feeling the
folds of our lives entwining. Remember when

I filleted salmon, your anger subduing into
grief as we danced in the living room that

smelled like lilacs. That time, we ordered
lilacs for your mother in a hospital bed, five time

zones around the globe. When you heard she had
died, we had to soak your phone in rice. Which is

what I made for us nearly every dinner. As you
texted me that you were heading home, the oven

hummed and hymned. Yesterday, you told me
that you were releasing me. I felt light leak

through my skin. I stood in foreign space pruning
want. Half the furniture and my life uprooted.

This is the first time, I understand why people buy
lottery tickets. Exiting Exxon, the midges buzz

in the humid June air. Reminders that there is
plenty of life to go around. Even as the fluorescent

lights flicker with uncertainty. At home, shrouded
in blue glow, I order a telescope for myself.

Ellen Zhang

Ellen Zhang is a student at Harvard Medical School who has studied under Pulitzer Prize winner Jorie Graham, poet Rosebud Ben-Oni, and poet Josh Bell. She has been recognized by the 2022 DeBakey Poetry Prize, 2022 Dibase Poetry Contest, and as a 2019 National Student Poet Semifinalist. Her works appear or are forthcoming in The Shore Poetry, Southward Literary Journal, Hekton International, and elsewhere.