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The other half of me lives across the world.
The roots of mama and baba, agong and apo, cling to the rocks of a red clay soil,
While their meristems were supplanted, relegated to the cool nectar of

As I dig my forehead into the frost-bitten plane window,
I imagine lines convalescing upon the clouds.
A languorous celestial line of
brown knap-sack peasants clamoring for the sun.
Of dreaming academics, imperially slim.
Of my own family, steps lined with gold, struggling against weighty dreams.
All tripping over calloused feet to drink a sweeter water.
Their eyes fixated on edges, the reprieve comes only
to mindlessly sip some bitter herb tea.

So earnest, so keen, thoughts so clean upon arriving,
they forget —
water flows in only to flow out.



Julia Zhou is a rising senior at the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Virginia. This is her first published poem.



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