by Kristine Ma

                   my grandma says, winding up her yarn.
in chinese, mingyun is fate.      an invisible red thread 
                                  connecting those who are destined to meet.
i remember this as i meet his honeyed eyes, 
heartstrings stretched thin. 
a thousand lifetimes flash before me. 
sipping wine from the same bottle and listening to the rusty radio on rooftops,
fluttering eyelashes and shy kisses. 
eating strawberries from sticky fingers, 
auspicious blue clouds,
arms wrapped around waists, words whispered into hair. 
vulnerability resting on shoulders,
buried faces in shirts,
the kinetic energy of dialed phone numbers and unsent letters. 
postcards with no stamps and poems tucked away into drawers,
falling asleep slowly like an elegiac dance in a midsummer twilight. 
the minute before new year’s, 
the apple dropping in times square.
an accidental brush of fingers stirs my body with memories:
his crimson smile, my coquelicot cheeks. 
                 mingyun. my grandma wraps the yarn over and under, 
                knitting needles flashing. she winds the loose end around her finger. 
        “the thread may stretch or tangle, but will never break.”
and i know this as he glances away,
even as my smile doesn’t quite reach my eyes. 
and in the way his hands tense on the railing behind him despite his relaxed posture,
in the soft way that i look down, i know, 
that the indigo hour will always be full of trembling fireflies,
and our bodies will remain warm,
an unfinished poem tucked in my back pocket. 
somewhere, right above the left aorta,
his fingertips left a twilight stain,
           our red thread stretching thin,
     tangling but never breaking. 



Kristine Ma is a high school junior at Detroit Country Day School. She received two national gold medals from the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Kristine is an editor for her school’s literary magazine, “Spectrum. When she isn’t writing, she can be found playing piano, dreaming, and watching anime.