When you think about kindness, what sights and sounds come to mind? How do you encapsulate such grand feelings of compassion? In partnership with Girls Write Now, Channel Kindness held a poetry contest entitled “Art of Kindness,” and we are proud to to share the winning poem below, written by high school freshman Ariel Zhang!
Remembrance: An Index From My Grandmother
red, orange, all the other iridescent colors like that.
I think of the things done and undone, raveled and
unraveled. crocheted bunnies, knitted turtles.
the sweater I outgrew. white collars browning,
hushed behind sepia frames. your watercolor koi
bleeds into colors only you can see. I want to give
my canvas to you. I don’t know if this is the color
of dawn or dusk. I don’t know where we begin or end.
II. MYOSOTIS SCORPIOIDES:
commonly called forget-me-nots. five petals of sky.
a baby hand. we collected these aqueous antiquities
and kept them like secrets. we spelled out words
with moons. you taught me such cryptic languages.
I would spend the rest of my life decoding them.
now, I spoon quiet words into your mouth
the same way you did when I was little. I want to crawl
into your lungs and breathe for you. I want to spell it out.
please, forget me not.
we squat in the sun-salted dirt, gutting fruits against
the backbone of waning things. you peel away
layers of a papaya with the same ease of taking off
your own skin. together, we catch the seeds spilling
like tears. I give them to you, but you don’t remember.
your eyes stare back at me in hollow husks and instead,
we drink tea from tea cups you stole when you were young.
we smile of the same fragileness of your lips. I promise
to save the papaya seeds, for you. your eyes are illuminated
life. we breathe of the grass after rain. your eyes
of flooding waters. words drifting away. you plié.
your grace as smooth as river stones.
then a quivering pirouette. an invisible stillness
reaches for your hand. you leap. airbound.
and I watch you dance.
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