The whisper of Emily Dickinson—
hope is the thing with feathers —
makes me think of birds
as creatures every girl
with broken wings
should look up to.
(Please hold me &
brush the rain
off my feathers)
There are no poems
for a bird drenched to
the bone, but what
is my body made for
if not the taste
of saltwater in a shower
of misgivings. That’s
where the shipwrecks
go, down the dregs
of Ophelia’s shadow.
But nobody listens to
the dead when
it’s easier to
escape the water
and the madwomen
echoed in each foam
and wave. My reflection
on the surface is not
beautiful: liquid eyes,
sharpened teeth,
lean and hungry youth.
None of this matters.
There’s drowning
and risk of flight
wherever I am held.

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PARAMITA VADHAHONG: is a Thai-American poet and writer from Houston, Texas and is an English and Creative Writing student at Hollins University. She is a finalist of the 2019 SXSW Essay Prize and a Gold Key winner of the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. Her writing has been
featured in Brain Mill Press and Mindfray.