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  • Writer's pictureClay Literary

FLEDGLING: Issue Nine (02/15/2021)

Image Source: Tatters/Flickr

vitality (a collection)

Written by Sophie Chiang

:: before there were clouds we settled a long time ago, / before there were / clouds, / before the / beginning. / in this world we were created, / in this vast silence, there is nothing to / sustain life but this thin earthen shell: / a mound of dirt over a rock, / separated from the sky. sun / burning it, baking / it, birthing roots in / it until the earth turns into land: / motherly, soft, something we might dance upon, like a / sand dune in hot summer rain.

:: olive creek the petals drifted down to the lake, into the river, as the purple sky settled down into the sand. tell me what you remember. i won’t. i’m by the creek. i’m in the olive grove. i’m in the orphanage by olive creek where the children sing of conceived mistakes. i see that you understand, but not how. i won’t remember. :: your grandmother’s funeral your grandmother’s funeral was the last cry of a butterfly. / you mumbled your prayers to your feet. / an ocean away, a priest scatters a sprinkling of water onto the crying infants. / but all you hear is the shudder of the midnight drum beat. / and the beat, it never ends. / every day, a reminder of the awful things we say to each other. / you get up in the blue light of dawn, in the face of an ugly parade, and you kneel / in the graveyard. / you tie a white shirt to a stick and it waves. / in the presence of death, you are naked. / vulnerable. / broken. / you are ashes. / ashes of your mother’s baby, ashes of your father’s child. / your grandmother’s funeral was the last cry of a butterfly. /

AUTHOR BIO: Sophie Chiang is a high schooler by day and a poet by night. She is an advocate for environmental awareness and social justice, which she addresses through surrealist poetry and playing with imagery. When she is not writing, she loves retail therapy and curating Spotify playlists. Sophie is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Aurora Journal (, and you can find her at or on Instagram (@sophiechiang_).

#poetry #sophiechiang #vitality #clayliterary #litmag #poetrycommunity

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