A body wilts
over time. If aging is a catalyst
and death a point of collision,
we constantly react,
desperately resisting forces of nature.
Our bending limbs must snap someday.
whether we want to or not. (Fade with me,
into uncertainty, into a sunset that never ends.
A room with sharp edges and no windows.)
We can no longer deny age
when our fathers decay to gum, no teeth,
welts on their foreheads
like death’s branding label, marking what
is his, what has always
been his. We know collisions
with too little energy
do not create a reaction. Why does
it surprise us now
when our cells produce less
bone marrow, our skin refuses to cling
to our skeletons, like it
once did? Our children will have children
and these human beings
will come into contact with absolute orientation.
through the gaps of our fingers, like silica,
harbingers of the end.
And when we reach the point of collision,
all we can do is hope
that the remnants of our reaction
yield something sublime,
something untouchable by time itself.
Vivian Lu is a junior at Cherry Hill High School East and the Editor-in-Chief of Bitter Melon Magazine. Her work appears or is forthcoming in National Poetry Quarterly, deLuge, Eunoia Review, and elsewhere. Her writing has been honored by the National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the Live Poets Society of NJ, and the Walt Whitman Birthplace Association. Beyond writing, she is the Founder and Executive Director of The Axon Project, a nonprofit organization that seeks to increase accessibility to neuroscience education for high school students.