Ellen Zhang

Windowsill Musings

What does it mean to grieve for yourself
when everything & everybody is falling
apart. Inside, outside, around my bedside.
Cells multiplying & dividing within me.
Sometimes, I imagine the tumor
as flowers blossoming in linings
of my lungs. Wrapped in possibility,
shifting with every breath, ready
with a plan in a way I cannot have.

A body grieved is a whole new body of
aches, bruises, pains. I study myself as
an edgeless map without compass.
Lost & misshaped against medical jargon,
only drugs flow freely inside me.
With ease, acceptance slips into somnolence.
Fear exhausting, hope dangerous.

These days, I write about lilacs. Maybe
it’s the beauty. Maybe it’s missing
home, wanting for spring. Maybe it’s just
fragility finally softening into
tangibleness. These days, I arch
my back just to feel the firm outline of
scapula, sureness of my own body.
These days, I wake up to condolence cards,
lilacs tilting petals toward the late sun,
dissecting white sheets & sterilized linoleum.