you place a penny in the crook of my collarbone and laugh, the hollow deepening as my shoulders rise with my lips, copper melding into skin. a fruit fly flies too close to my face
and instinctively i clap. i open my palms to reveal tarnishing metal: to find wings like clovers, petals half bent
and symmetrical. your laugh and the clap of my palms are the only sounds
all night. i open my lips to say something, anything, but what do i say?
that i wish i wasn’t so scared
of bugs, and if i wasn’t, perhaps it would have survived?
that when you drove to my house that day and i went to hand you my old textbook, i wanted our palms to touch? that i wanted you to stay
for more than a minute? for now,
the hum of the vents, the artificial cold air. the way that i can’t see your mouth in the dark but i can tell that you smiled.
the blinking lights outside. the memories of neon signs,
ducking from rain and into udon stalls, cupping paper trays of takoyaki. for now, i tell you that there will be a heaven made of osaka sunsets. for now, i take these words in my palms and call it home.
Kristine Ma is a writer and high school senior hailing from Michigan. She received three national gold medals and several other recognitions from the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Additionally, her poetry has been recognized by the Young Poets Network and appears in or is forthcoming from Up the Staircase Quarterly, The Hunger, Up North Lit, The Indianapolis Review, and Bridge: The Bluffton University Literary Journal, among others. When she isn’t writing, she can be found playing piano and oboe, watching anime, and dreaming.