Aubade by Ariel So

My mom hurries the ants home, though their sturdy bodies find themselves
in our pocket hold. The clouds return in abundant intervals; frequently,
the ground freckles with summer rain. We don’t have egrets, or cicadas, or the black bear
outside a house of light. There are no wild geese. No tornadoes. No knowing we are
close to a body of water because mayflies clutch at clumsy sleeves. But we have
the smell of cooked meat, burned slow like cigarettes. We have pineapple-crust buns.
Air pollution to carry the lungful and a longful breath’s weight. Cantonese sayings
to curse your eight generations with, and an ancestral backlog of the very dead.
Metropolitan subways almost always overfilled with wait. Loose edges, I caress images
of a hometown where we have lost our rights. Peeling from sleep’s gel, a silicone of glue
sticking to membranes. The wide expanse of time rarely enough under foggy city lights.

Ariel So is originally from Hong Kong and has lived in Singapore and the United States. Her poetry has appeared in Sprague Gallery, Our Sound, Protest Through Poetry, Bee Infinite Publishing, and elsewhere. She graduated summa cum laude from Scripps College with a BA in English and Creative Writing Emphasis. Currently, she is an MFA Candidate in Poetry at Columbia University.