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By Honlin Zhu

First week of September,

Last week of summer.

I squeeze into my window seat,

Staring outside

It is still

Summer, but the air conditioning

Whispers to me, “Winter is coming.”

We take off in turbulence, heading for

A     distant,      inevitable      destination.

Grandma’s Zhajiang noodles, rollercoaster rides with Yuchang,

The smell of spicy crayfish on Gui street, late night games of PUBG,

Escape rooms, frozen watermelons on a hot day, Father’s smoke rings shrink

To nothing, like the world beneath.

Part of the journey is the end. Now is the end.


I try to sleep, forget. But all the same,

The thoughts find me—friendships I can’t retain,

Farewells unsaid.

“Why didn’t I ask her out?”

Unearthed, yet still entangled to the past

I’m lost inside a sea of clouds so vast,

Of endless uncertainty, fear and doubt.


When I wake up, everyone is asleep.

Submerged in darkness, I look for some light.

Outside the dimmed and purple window is

The only light amidst the vast nothingness of the sky.

A distant midnight sun half hiding in the clouds,


We’ll never reach it, but we’ll chase it to the other side of Earth.

When all the clouds clear and the plane starts landing,

I know it’s an end.          

And a new beginning.

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