Cailey Tin

& erosion hits the riverbed; I held you as we shape-shifted

& I told you our differences        , as in the ways we manifest distress, of warm bodies exploding
, of the curse of twin flames      . You extinguish after my blanketing, body collapsing to a tapestry
with stones worn                          smooth by the river’s embrace. & in its quiet cradle, you break
out by twos. & I wonder if          when you hush down, the earth listens to the heart of the river &
I’m one of its heartbeats, if        you feel like a drowned out plant, waiting & waiting for downpour;
we’re nothing but the same,      two souls reflecting this riverbed’s tranquil waters, mirroring what
trials & triumphs that have //      has not flown smoothly. Remember the erosion, how it shifted
our rough edges of                       course & bent what we once thought was linear, wearing away
outer layers. You inhaled            so much heat at once; I’m rooted here, to burn together, hear your
laughs to keep tears at bay,       sobs bouncing off mine, both stoned to the bone // mineral, but
whatever is around us                 right now, I promise the breaking down of our bodies will turn us
into rocks. Each embrace,          stronger, carving an imprint on each other’s bedrock hearts &
each stroke of erosion                gentling our fingertips, like fragile flames, or vines that find their
touch—at least it unburied        ways to the sun, pining for the light of another’s
human fire, rekindled                  body; we will only transform & transform, shape & reshape.

*this poem is contrapuntal, meaning it can be read either left to right (preferably) or down the first column, and then the second

every place & time is called history so what do we call this place & time

There are only kicks of gravel to look back to
               nowadays, & I don’t know if this story between us is one
                          for the books, yet here we are again, by this muted brown scenery,

where people used to hang birds to eat 300 years ago. The sand
              had cleared with a turquoise sea face & in its head, it called itself
                          a beach. I thought we agreed on no more coming back

here, & no more prodding on places pigeon necks remain &
              on no more drinks, yet residue drips from my
                          chin. Crystal-blue words spill out like the fall

of sandcastles during seasons when trips to the beach are simply
               cheaper. Lips being rained on as the flint-gray sky says, I told you so,
                          & I tell you the truth, for an interval we haven’t been this

close. Skin to skin, the first time I will say I’m so
              see-through. Each night there’s a magenta moon, red from its
                          abundant energy from watching history repeat itself & restrained

with the introspection of Violet. Birds get crucified below, & I watch with
               these colors, hanging & hanging on to every pinch of sand on my
                          purplish fingertips. You sold every vein of me for another

color, & I camouflage. Color can change to bluish-purple. I am not getting
              enough blood yet here we are beneath charcoal clouds, & with the storm
                          brewing outside, the castle has crumbled & I remember building it to

                                          begin with, watching the sky change shape & I metamorphose. 


& erosion hits the riverbed; I held you as we shape-shifted

This is not a speaker I should be
not listening to. She’s spilling out

tricks to win her branded bag like
drinks in a fast-food restaurant where

nobody is looking at anything in
particular, but they’re all alert. Pajama-like

stripes beneath the blazer & I wonder
what else she hides with leather. I try

to come up with a question but all that comes
out is a yawn. She said, close your eyes, imagine

guilty pleasure: writing poems while life happens right in front

you’re in a street outside of McDonalds, &
a close friend you haven’t met in years is right

across. What would you say? Nobody crosses
my mind, but my mouth is watering. I might

turn back & order a chicken nugget. I would
hope our conversation has no question & answer

portion. I would pray it isn’t the elementary friend
who made a contest to win some DIY bracelet, but all

I got was a single loom. More than anything, I’d
wish I wasn’t wearing anything embarrassing, like

this girl in front I should be paying attention to.

About the Author: Cailey Tin, hailing from the Philippines, is a columnist, poetry editor, and/or podcast host for publications such as Incandescent Review, Paper Crane Journal, and Spiritus Mundi. She can be found (imagining) chipping away at pieces, whether it's in piano, journalism articles, or debate speeches. Notably, at 13, she received a Pushcart nomination and won recognition from Ice Lolly Review, Fairfield Scribes, and more. Her work has appeared in Eunoia Review, Iris Youth Magazine, Cloudscent Journal, among others. Follow her teenage endeavors//shenanigans on Instagram @itscaileynotkylie.