this was her idea:
how to get through the winter and
thrive. I thought this impossible, but now sun
wafts through cloudy panes, lifting quietly
by degrees the heat, thinking how much light
do you think a room could hold /
do you think these hands could bear /
do you think this body could sing?
I tell her the last time I burned this way I was fever.
in autumn she plants sunflowers,
and when the storms arrive
they press their faces against the glass,
in their midst, fruit trees appear
from childhood gardens, over there
my mother’s herbs,
yucca, bonsai my father tended,
paving stones he laid
carefully, with hands I have forgotten.
should these go in a greenhouse?
there are memories we cannot account for.
in June she tells me to plant something.
I bury my heart beneath the fig tree so I can
eat again. this is not enough so I bury
eyes, some hair, a limb. why don’t you
plant something that will grow, she says.
I watch my fingers in the soil, pulling furrows.
I bury shame, pride, some joy.
come summer, she unfolds
like reverse origami; she rivers
into sea / I cannot follow.
summer, the house seems a cage
though I am happy to linger
she wants to dismantle it, but I cannot bear
to see the frame strewn across the yard,
the glinting panes of a ship beached,
a body discarded,
a soul unhoused,
so look away, she says.
I don’t look back.
Janna Tay studies law, politics, and philosophy at the University of Auckland. She holds a diploma in classical piano and runs a literature blog at merulae.tumblr.com. Her work has appeared in Polyphony H.S. and -Ology Journal.