about the author

Melissa Ho is a sixteen-year-old from Ellicott City, Maryland. She has been recognized by The National YoungArts Foundation, The Poetry Society of the United Kingdom, The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, and more. Her work has appeared in [PANK], The Literateur, Word Riot, and elsewhere.


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When We Asked About Water

Melissa Ho



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in the center of monsoon season,
your mother will wait—slowly,
           wearily. your hands
will reek: slipping, sputtering,
           chock full of monday
fish. at the end of the bank,

you watch three heads of tar-
           slicked hair dip once
into sky-burnt dusk, not flinching,
           only nodding. in june,
they will ask you to break wider.
           open like an underbelly,

raw and white, clasping the oil-
           glazed husks of a market
harvest, you will bend your wrists
           backwards—ripening,
gasping for water, listening for

something to bury. on the oil-sodden
           moor, three heads will dream
of an ocean. your eyelids wrinkling from
           salt, the bridge of your nose
creasing like elbows, you will look for

a body: spaces between limbs, cavities
           under lakes. on the edge of a
marsh, your mother, searching. three
           worlds behind her, your hands
flatten into prunes. when it rains, you will

not think about drowning.





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