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

love letter to a girl whose name ends in i