When the Lightning Whispers

-for my brother

There’s a pocket in my heart, where the sun sets
and the stars rise. Loss paints the atria and love,
love drips from the sky, lanterns ready to fall
from the thunderclouds. As a storm bleeds tragedy
into the ventricles, I stand before the aorta, wishing
that I could reshape the universe,
but you were the scientist. My hands
only know origami, eggshell angles graceless
at grasping the galaxy. Instead, I’ve crafted
language, lightning strikes within a constellation
of words. Between the letters, in the silence,
my heart beats because yours
has stopped.

Sarena Tien is a queer Chinese American feminist who is currently a PhD candidate in French Literature at Cornell University. Once upon a time, she used to be so shy that two teachers once argued whether she was a “low talker” or “no talker,” but she’s since learned how to scream. Her poetry and prose have appeared in publications such as The Rumpus, Bustle, The Feminist Wire, Decoded Pride, and Sylvia.

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