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Ophelia talks to Sharon about men, death, and violets

by Sharon Zhang

       —After Michael Frazier


Who told you to do 

              these kinds of things?               You

       try memorizing the

names of        flowers, and

       Then you are



                     Our souls melted in sunlight,

                     a black coat dumping the bodies

so gently it 

       becomes a               rite of passage

              hands clasped still in 

                     devastated opal, perched on

                     the hood of a 2010 burgundy Ford.

You don’t say

       I love you 

because you were

                                   raised better than that.

                     Don’t do what I

              did, man

                                   coughing yourself


       into mutilated riverbanks

                                          into magnificent Woolworths aisles

like a prayer to an unrisen god

       for which there will never be a temple

                                          —To an unrisen weather balloon

He        gave me        letters and then I

             made paper cranes

snipping         off their little heads

          onto the tiles. Thunk as

              the syllables fall off and then

a white shower in the swollen

                  kitchen.        Thunk   as

       my eyelids were ripped

open like broken seams

   and blood dotted the bouquet;


                                          yes, I became something

                                                        so threadbare and clumsy

that        violets were pried 

              from my

purple fingers and then I

                          was                                                         blessed

Sharon Zhang is an Asian-Australian, Melbourne-based poet and author. Her work has been recognised by Anti-Heroin Chic, Antithesis Magazine, and elsewhere. She is a mentee at Ellipsis Writing and an editor at Polyphony Lit. Outside of writing, she enjoys collecting CDs, scrolling endlessly on her phone, and thinking about Hegel a touch more than that which is necessary. She is the poet laureate of pretentiousness and using the word “body” when any other noun would work instead. Skin. Limbs. Humanness. Tablecloth.

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