Emily Sun

[the dry season]

childhood slipped past in rivulets of rain 

my father’s black asphalt eyes 

reflected white sky and 

my mother whisked us away 

in the monsoons 

 

seated across from him now, 

the damp air 

ferments like wine, 

pallid lumps of pasta 

sprawl on gilded silverware, 

mouthful after mouthful 

of silence 

he mumbles parched platitudes, 

like how tall I’ve grown, tenderness 

welling in his throat. I imagine 

that’s where water 

comes from, someplace 

warm, old, deep. 

 

outside the gutters sigh, 

rust grows over 

the eaves 

 

[heat]

a boy traces his maps with a candle, 

feverish, watercolor land masses, rivers 

of blue exhaust 

 

we play tug-of-war with 

the stove, feed our throats 

to its wooden, muffled bellow, 

we wonder is this the kind 

that outlived summer, is this the 

sound when we crack it, a small metal 

earth and its 

slow-burning heart. 

 

is this the kind guerillas swallowed to 

warm their bones, that hillside tide 

of them, the green palms, their 

secret folds, the space twilight mothers 

leave and the past eats up, hungering 

through reeds, is this the kind that is 

forsaken, the riverbed shifting its 

sudden spine, and whose blood turns 

porcelain— 

 

the smoke, like a longing, 

begins and begins and begins. 

 

EMILY SUN is a student at Brown University. She is passionate about a growing list of things that include but are not limited to: writing, international humanitarian law, immigration rights, the arts and social change. Her favorite kind of pie is pumpkin and her favorite kind of sky is the one you see in the desert.