Poetry from the Fall 2022 edition of The Wellesley Review

In this section:

homo sapiens sapiens by Alexandra Asack ’24
15 prompts for Dall-E by Kiki Chen ’23
The Rocking Horse by Atsumi Stewart ’26
Aftermath, or, Elegy by Hunter Dodrill ’23
Iphis by Izzy Rettke ’25
Someday I’ll love Jacqueline Jaymes by Jacqueline Roderick ’23
una extensión de un sueño by Entzu Chang, Language Assistant
CTRL-SHIFT-Z by Cheryl Wang ’23
Ummaya! (mother! in Korean) by Elizabeth Lim ’23
Frog Prince by Cheryl Wang ’23

homo sapiens sapiens
Alexandra Asack ’24

Your left lung is smaller than the right
to make room for your heart. It’s almost
funny, the way that millions of years
ago, we decided loving
was more important than breathing.

15 prompts for Dall-E
Kiki Chen ’23

[Dall·E is a powerful machine learning model developed by OpenAI that generates images from natural language inputs.When you first join, you have 50 free credits (inputs) to use in a month, and 15 every month after.]

> Capybara riding yellow stripe surfboard on 16mm film
> Olympic sprinter racing meteor in Times Square
> Tech billionaire with lobster eyebrows oil painting
> Instagram influencer in Wisconsin suburb kitchen
> Photo of 24 ballerinas in an aquarium
Dall·E, please show me a shrimp drinking a cocktail of your choice
> Cannonball jump off of the Ship of Theseus drawing
> The perfect water bottle impressionism style
> The Apollo Theater full of monkeys from the pov of monkey in seat A46
> Pulp fiction book cover of a grapefruit in the shape of a couch
Dall·E, show me an image of my mother’s love
> Movie poster of a cowboy ninja on a mountain eating broccoli
> Squirrel doing math in old wooden library pixel art
> Renaissance portrait of a giraffe in a leather jacket green background
>The 6th stage of grief on Shiba Inu face digital art
Dall·E, please-

Anything you can imagine, and everything you can’t…

Think of all the images you have just imagined. Isn’t your mind better than any machine? No! You couldn’t really “see” them.You need technology to show you what your mind can only approach.

Dall E, please show me something real. Please show me something real. Please show me something-

The Rocking Horse
Atsumi Stewart ’26

Once, when I was convalescing,
I was sent to the treehouse
overlooking my grandfather’s
country cottage
My body floppy with bedsores,
I climbed the worn rope
and lifted my hips onto the split wood

I never minded the cuts.

This place still held the casual magic from ten years ago:
the way time felt as wispy
and delirious as the very mirages
floating near the sun

The way I could watch the horizon on all sides
while a beetle scurried
around my pinky

And the cottage, far away,
sat like a gingerbread house
in a sea of clovers

In the corner,
the Parisian rocking horse
my dad gave me
still creaked with the breeze,
an indelible glint in its emerald eye

A dozen gnats hovered
about its ears

“Où étais-tu”
It used to greet in French,
“Where have you been?”

“Je suis ici maintenant”
I cooed, reaching for its mane
“I’m here now.”

But it was quieter,
smaller than I remembered

Or maybe I was bigger,
and sicker
than it recalled

My skin like clenched silk,
And my smile chipped,
I’d aged out of familiarity.

hours later
I sleep talked to myself
and we both agreed

Non-life converted to mind,
how comforting we were
then and now

Aftermath, or, Elegy
Hunter Dodrill ’23

And when I look back at the photo that is supposed to be the best memory of our young lives, all I see is my own shadow scattered among the broken mirror I call family.

Can the ghost see itself? Can the shadow illuminate the blackest night? Can my nightmares be outrun in the endless maze of my own reflection?

In these years of this thing we try to call life, I have been desperate to hold myself but. there is something inside me. like ticking time bomb. like broken glass. like minefield. like war.         war.         war.

How can I hold myself without touching the chest, without feeling the very heartbeat I have depended on for every breath? I am allergic to my own skin and the doctors send me away to find my own answers in the bottom of bottles and in the glassy stares of people who cannot even seem to spit up my own name.

Pain only becomes unbearable when the end is in sight and you realize that the distance is infinitely further than you could have ever imagined. So long the light doesn’t reach. So long the screams don’t echo. So long they’ll never find you here. So long they’ll forget who you are and go looking for the wrong person. once.         was.         were.

In the last moment of our time together, I hug you tighter to remember the semblance of love. When I pull back, or you pull away, or maybe both or neither or maybe it was the wind – your eyes are closed, and now I know what I always knew–         you have never really seen me at all.

Izzy Rettke ’25

pull you out by my
the ways of a Sister
or more like a
Twin all
crambling me back to our
same space. womb to tomb
where Death was not an action but a choice

walking into a room
by walking backward out of room for
there is no place on earth
under the garden of baby fingers and toes
popping up like onion bulbs
that will open its legs to me
no place stretches
like a touch with no name

i am not medical
i am
a warm brandy
sliding down the throat of another
zipper-tits Daughter

Someday I’ll love Jacqueline Jaymes
Jacqueline Roderick ’23

una extensión de un sueño
Entzu Chang, Language Assistant

días que flotan en el cielo
días que aparecen
solo en tu sueño

cantamos en la primavera
cantamos en el silencio
las palabras vienen
me recuerda el tiempo que reímos

bromeas por las grietas
lloras por el hielo
¿cómo describimos a los que vuelan
sobre el estanque que disfrutamos?

a veces pienso en el lugar
que escribimos con todos los sentimientos
¿cómo pueden ser tan fuertes
mientras son tan ligeros?

escucho el agua fugaz
como el tiempo que corre rápido
una nota me dejan
luego se desvanecen en el flujo

de noche veo las estrellas
ilustran esos momentos
una y otra vez me dicen
y siempre recuerdo

recuerdo los días
días siendo como el viento
días que existen
solo en tu sueño

Cheryl Wang ’23

The Spontaneous Knotting Of An Agitated String:

In an enclosed space, a string of more than forty-six centimeters
has a fifty percent chance of forming a knot.

I would like to undo the undoing you
have made of me.

Untwist the threads of fate where we
intertwine; snip off the extra. I
am tired of frayed thoughts and frazzled
string literals. Cut through our entwined knuckles
clenched against each other. Tear us apart
until the recoil batters us black and blue.

Here is the coin of love & hate:
on one side — my conflicted heart.
the other — your indifference.

Not for naught and knot, I am weary
of collision. Here we separate and unfold
only to meet once again in this infinite-
ly small cosmos. I erase and you redo,
and we are once again tangled against each other
in a humid July evening, two lithe cords:
impossible to make out where one begins
and the other ends.

Ummaya! (mother! in Korean)
Elizabeth Lim ’23

i lead you through the harmless bustle of the subway station,

your footsteps hollow and light,

Ummaya, let’s play hooky so i can keep arms wrapped around your bony shoulders,
Ummaya, let’s go back to when you zigzagged our cart through the supermarket with me in the tiny seat,
let’s press pause,
enjoy whatever music i used to complain is too slow

Frog Prince
Cheryl Wang ’23

She was found ankles-deep in the river:
wet pants bunched up and sticking to her calves,
wide brown eyes, a dirt-smeared face
and she was cradling a frog. It was dead,
mouth gaping open and limp.
Her hands raised like a prayer
and feet shifting nervously
in the snow-water from cold—

I was trying to kiss him, she said.
Am I in trouble? She sniffled.
I grabbed him too hard an’ all his guts fell out.
I didn’t mean to.

She moved her hand.
The frog’s corpse flopped to the side like a rubber toy
muddy water escaping the mouth and flailing in the air.
Can you fix him?

Later in the evening bare feet crept out the back door
with Granmama’s cookie-sewing-magic tin
and found the grey rock that marked the patch of fresh earth
where they’d buried him.
She’d sew him back together, she imagined,
giddily victorious with childish glee,
and dug out the dirt with a trowel
until his small webbed hand waved at her.

She almost couldn’t find the eye of the needle in the dark but eventually
with enough fiddling the thread — green-grey, like her little friend — went through.
His skin was tougher than it looked and she jabbed twice before
it went through on one side and then out the other. Crude stitches
forcing his mouth together so the cotton she’d stuffed inside couldn’t
squeeze out like his intestines.

Expectantly she waited for life to return.
The small twitches of life,
a hop here, a blink there.
But the last of the sunset disappeared.
He was still cold and wet and dead.

In desperation she pressed her lips twice
against the stitched-up mouth
and then once on the top of the head.
He tasted like dirt.

Deciding the process needed more fermentation,
she stuffed him into the pocket of her overalls
and padded back home. In the small cluster of her royal court
she gave him the seat of honor
in between Mr. Snuggles and Velveteen Rabbit.
He looked out of place next to their pristine pink fur
but she’d give him a bath tomorrow in the sink
or let him use the shower if he asked, politely.

It was then, exhausted, she fell asleep
dreaming of her overnight prince.