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,


desire.



Illustration by Deborah Han

Josephine Wu