This selection is from Jennifer S. Cheng’s chapbook, “Invocation: An Essay,” pp. 24-25.
I think of small creatures beating softly in the darkness, of seahorses treading lightly on bright pebbles, wrapping their tails around blades of murky, shadowed grass.
Somewhere in the midnight, a childhood across the sea, a black ocean constellation. Sometimes children stop speaking because, lost in a stranger’s land, they are left with only their bodies. Without maps, they trace lines of light on the palms of their hands.
Tucked into the folds of growing stalks and stems, the only sound they hear is the silence of their bodies, turned from frozen glass.
Jennifer Cheng received her MFA in Nonfiction from the University of Iowa and her BA from Brown University. She is the recipient of a U.S. Fulbright Fellowship, a Kundiman Fellowship, the Academy of American Poets Harold Taylor Award, and most recently the Mid-American Review Fineline Prize. Her writing appears or is forthcoming in Web Conjunctions, the Collagist, Mid-American Review, Ninth Letter, Quarterly West, Seneca Review, and Fifty-Fifty (an anthology of Hong Kong writing). She lives in San Francisco and can be found at jenniferscheng.com.
Meagan Cass is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Illinois Springfield, where she teaches courses in creative writing, independent publishing, and composition, curates the Shelterbelt reading series, and advises the campus literary journal, the Alchemist Review. Her fiction has appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Pinch, Hobart Web, PANK, and Puerto del Sol, among other journals. Magic Helicopter Press will publish her first fiction chapbook, Range of Motion, in January 2014. She holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Louisiana Lafayette and an MFA in fiction from Sarah Lawrence College.