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On Loving -- poetry by Karen Zhao

Never have I

dreamed you caught between

the corners and long

sweeps of stanzas,

but again I

thwart myself. My heart and

liver leavening with

such hollowness. God,

I want to swallow the parts

of you I’ve never known. As if

I would then remember

you as more than the imprint

of your face in snow, tender

my belated piety. In my dreams,

I walk past the graves of

my ancestors. Nothing

stays. Footsteps quiet on

sand, afloat through wind.

But you looked at me like I

was your heart or liver. I suppose

I was—molded by the cosmos

before I was your flesh and

blood. Your greetings,

praises so warm even

when I flinched at

your touch. Even when I

laid bare my


And I,

I confess—

Your hair, face, voice

had already slipped half-

way through my

hands until my father told me

that you,

you with the last of your voice, asked

Is my granddaughter well?


Karen Zhao is a high school senior from California. She edits for Cathartic Lit and Farside Review. When she’s not writing, she can be found watching movies or attempting to sew.

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