When I Close My Eyes

By River 瑩瑩 Dandelion

my hair sways long
black streams cascade
down my back

somewhere, skies illuminate after somber rain
ashen clouds birth gold crowns
dirty puddles reveal trees sipping earth

somewhere, a comet slams
into the moon’s body
& she doesn’t even flinch

i wear a dress again
auric jade nylon floats above my knees
no one sneaks pictures of me on the subway

that’s the whole story:

i walk home in peace
sing & marvel at the universe
in serenity.

somewhere, a nebula collapses
under the weight of its own gravity
& a star forms

i close my eyes

these floorboards become tree again
i walk onto its dusted back

redwood glitter grazes
palm lines of my feet

i stamp gentle imprints

walk off

into light.

Headshot of Huiying B. Chan

River 瑩瑩 Dandelion (he, him, keoi 佢) is a creative writer, cultural organizer, and facilitator from Brooklyn, NY on Lenape Land. His body of work centers migration, race, displacement, and intergenerational resistance and resilience. As an organizer, he works on education justice, immigration, and anti-displacement campaigns from Chinatowns to the border. He also facilitates writing workshops for QTBIPOC that use writing as a tool to cultivate our radical imaginations for liberation. River has received fellowships and awards from the Asian American Writers’ Workshop, VONA/Voices, Poetry Foundation, and American Education Research Association. He is currently writing a memoir about his journey tracing family roots in Toisan, China, and exploring ancestral lineages past and future. He loves to swim and does this work for queer and trans ancestors and descendants to come. You can connect with River on IG: @rememberingourlight and at riverdandelion.com. Formerly known as huiying b. chan.

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