IT’S SUMMER AND

CINDY SONG

 
 

I​ ​am​ ​picking​ ​at​ ​the​ ​skin​ ​of​ ​a​ ​bruised​ ​yellow​ ​mango 
like​ ​a​ ​scavenger—cool,​ ​smooth,​ ​rugged​ ​between​ ​my 
palms.​ ​I​ ​sit​ ​at​ ​the​ ​brink​ ​of​ ​past​ ​and​ ​future​ ​except 
there​ ​is​ ​no​ ​present​ ​when​ ​the​ ​sky​ ​hums​ ​like​ ​a​ ​parched​ ​fly, 
beating​ ​remorse​ ​down​ ​like​ ​vaguely​ ​familiar​ ​rain. 
When​ ​my​ ​fingers​ ​caress​ ​the​ ​mango’s​ ​faint​ ​wrinkles, 
I​ ​feel​ ​my​ ​grandmother’s​ ​face​ ​fold​ ​into​ ​naked​ ​laughter. 
The​ ​sun​ ​is​ ​ruthless—makes​ ​us​ ​turn​ ​around​ ​so​ ​we​ ​face 
our​ ​shadows,​ ​our​ ​pasts​ ​stored​ ​back​ ​in​ ​tempered​ ​winter. 
There​ ​is​ ​no​ ​going​ ​back​ ​because​ ​it’s​ ​summer​ ​and 
I​ ​am​ ​trapped​ ​inside​ ​a​ ​bruised​ ​yellow​ ​mango, 
thinking​ ​about​ ​all​ ​the​ ​ways​ ​Beijing​ ​can​ ​burn​ ​from​ ​inside 
out​ ​and​ ​still​ ​water​ ​our​ ​mouths​ ​with​ ​the​ ​sour​ ​taste​ ​of 
fermented​ ​milk​ ​and​ ​ancestral​ ​blood.​ ​When​ ​I​ ​pull​ ​the​ ​mango 
to​ ​my​ ​face​ ​so​ ​we​ ​are​ ​flesh​ ​to​ ​flesh,​ ​I​ ​breathe​ ​in​ ​its 
familiar​ ​flavor—seal​ ​it​ ​in​ ​like​ ​a​ ​summer​ ​foregone. 
So​ ​it’s​ ​summer​ ​and​ ​my​ ​limbs​ ​are​ ​heavy​ ​with​ ​the 
weight​ ​of​ ​another​ ​dewy​ ​morning.​ ​It’s​ ​summer​ ​and 
the​ ​mango​ ​is​ ​ripened,​ ​its​ ​skin​ ​blooming​ ​to​ ​spoil. 

 

 
 

∘∘∘