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love letter to a girl whose name ends in i

because summer rippled through

our wrists like a

disease, speckled and honest.

With breath broken over your

splintered lip, we sipped lemonade to ribbon our

sourness into ribcage, caramelize

fruit into catastrophe. And

chin chin, a Nigerian snack we let

crackle over our tongues,

reminds you of so many

beautiful things:

your mother baptized into

a diamond of water,

its viscosity akin to

tissued egg; and

the moon, a hard

fried thing

pearling porcelain when

left in heat. It

flosses through my gums like

qián, meaning money,

or the body part I wish to

surgery away: flesh just

a vacancy of incisions

plasticizing into a

compostable Mona Lisa.

How lovelorn, how love

lost us teenagers can

be, for I

imagine a chapel tented with

wisteria and origami cranes –

creased wings, a

capricious way to clip

flight – and knife wounds

tweezed out of stained

glass. Under the

pews, Michelangelo’s

David filed into

folklore: a block

of marble

shedding. Your

white dress swanned into a

crescent and the lace

petering into starlight,

I think of how memories

only crystallize if they

mean something. I found

a ring off of Pinterest even though

I didn’t know which one of us would

propose: it doesn’t matter, I suppose,

so long as we both agree to carve out

a gap in our stomachs in the

shape of a prayer. The last

letter of your name

ending in i,

and I, dreaming

in mirrors,


Illustration by Deborah Han


Josephine Wu


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