I remember Papa
slamming the front door again
and again, car engine
rumbling to a start, his absence
opening around me
like a blade. before he left
he told me he dreamed
of sequin carved women
littering the concrete
like koi, limbs splayed glossy
under the streetlights. now,
while he dances in hotel rooms, Mama
teaches me to braid
blood into constellations, stars
into water. I think of Papa and
sink to the bottom of the ocean,
it is there
in the dark
that I learn:
that the blades lodged in my skin are
scales, the gashes in my stomach,
gills. And my nightmares, the years
flowering closed, Mama crying
in the bathroom— just
saltwater circling and
circling. But still
I search for Papa
in every sliver
of ocean. I keep waiting
for his dreams to find me,
their eyes empty, tails
golden, to find me
and swallow me
into sequins

Lara Chang is a high school senior and Oregon native. They love their sphinx cat, Billy, and are working on a chapbook of retellings of mythology.