ankles in the dew


ankles in the dew by ravine
and pressed cheek to the lush,
stolen umbra beneath branches
of summer bloom in blush—

the boy’s small hands taste with their touch
morning grass, brittle leaves,
traces the world to a fringe where
on his arm water weaves.

draws to the edge for a river dip
but all the ripples die.
cold stratum courses the ground and
ashen tempers the sky.

ice breathes on the blades of stiff grass, 
motion delays, wind whines,
his body lies deluged by white,
waters freeze hyaline.

he finds the glass-veiled rivulet,
sees where the ripples were—
strange that all once comely of life
would wilt, then dim and blur.

erratic light: night saturates 
where the star clusters bide,
the boy a stone-still statuette
fixed to his riverside.

his fingers curl into cold soil
counting to sleep, once, twice;
thinking rests, the body wanders—
Till the boy falls through ice.

the echoes of his pulse now thieved
by this greedy, cold stream—
before all is sun-broken and
the river turns sateen.

falling in reverse, he rises
to a newborn spring bliss
where tree canopies catch warm gold
and with the low clouds kiss.

and the boy’s body by stream-side
lies in the green quite frail,
ankles in the dew by ravine,
and his face still stained pale.

he remains beneath the willows, 
watches a world in drift;
fragile toy at nature’s mercy,
awaits the seasons’ shift.

Emma Chao (Class of 2023) forgets she is extant when bullying words in her fictional exploits or contemplating the authenticity of various matcha food products. Her mind tends to disobey itself and slip into philosophical mayhem—daily.