Poem of the Week

Emigrant Radiolaria

Jennifer S. Cheng

The moon is over and we are pretending it is
still full of water. We are pretending that light
reflected is light at its source. In the deepest
parts of the ocean, tiny skeletons do not go
blinking in the dark. They emit little moans,
stretching out their limbs where they do not
own any. They are watching for their bones to
take up space, miniature seashells with teeth.
From the bottom of the ocean, the surface
looks like the sky. We lose miles underneath
the light. We conjure ourselves from
proximate debris: fingernail here, eyelid there.
We drift our bodies to become an atmosphere.

Jennifer S. Cheng is the author of Moon: Letters, Maps, Poems, selected by Bhanu Kapil for the Tarpaulin Sky Book Award, and House A, selected by Claudia Rankine for the Omnidawn Poetry Book Prize. She lives in San Francisco. www.jenniferscheng.com
Originally published:
January 26, 2022

Featured

A Faceless Compass

Johannesburg’s haunted streets
Ivan Vladislavić

Case Studies

A critic tracks herself
Margo Jefferson

Geoff Dyer

The essayist on not having a career
James Surowiecki

You Might Also Like

Poem of the Week

Western

Izzy Casey

Poem of the Week

Replica

Allyson Paty

Poem of the Week

Perfect

Adrienne Chung

Newsletter

Sign up for The Yale Review newsletter and keep up with news, events, and more.