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collarbones under the sea -- poetry by Selena Zhang

maybe I’ll be in a museum one day.

They’ll put me up for display, tell people

all about who I was. What the size of

my collarbone indicates and how they

ate meat everyday (can you imagine?)

but more likely, I’d lay dead and forgotten

with my left jaw halfway across the continent

and a rib bone under the sea. And not once

in the two-hundred year lives of the 500-billion

population would a single mind dwell on me.

Not what I ate. Wore, thought, said, did, cried over.

And then I’d be nothing but calcium dust under layers

and layers of sedimentary rock on the abandoned planet

(where really who would live there anymore? because that

old thing barely has clean water! and can you believe the state

the atmosphere is in?) crumbling away and then finally, gone even

though I died over a thousand times before that (but really only twice.)


Or maybe we’ll all kill each other before that happens.

Maybe I’ll lay dead and forgotten with my left jaw

blown to bits and my ribs reduced to

atoms. And then a fatty, cloying layer of death and dead and died

would settle over our entwined bodies

and we’d all sleep real well knowing

nobody would ever put us in a museum

because we’ve all fucking killed each other.

And that would be fine, too.


Selena Zhang is a Chinese American high school student living in Montgomery County, Maryland. Her work has been recognized by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards and she loves to write poetry to explore her thoughts, memories, and experiences. She started experimenting with poetry in middle school and it has been a cathartic refuge for her ever since.

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