Definitions: Growth

Author | Margaret Siu

1. <Meta/morph/orsis> leaving the earth means getting closer to the sky.

That’s what I was told when Ah-gong saw a caterpillar – able bodies of the soil. Patches of terrain will always remain parched, cracked and raw. Caterpillars discovered leaves sometime ago to escape desiccation. Green is a nourishing hue. Mouths kiss teeth suck veins, xylem, phloem. Then, it’s necessary for caterpillars to inflate and shed exoskeletons, sacrificing older skins for colder coats. From a silk button, the last sacrifice encases a pupae’s heart in darkness. In their sleep, bodies dissolve into solvent – undifferentiated. From weeks to moons, regeneration remains an unexplained resurrection: bodies grow translucent faerie wings. Winter is a deadlock for the breathing. A crucial point remains: if a chrysalis hatches during winter, then wings petrify and turn into something akin to a snowflake. Brittle beautiful blue. Believe: if a chrysalis hatches during summer, then wings will melt into Technicolor pools. Spring time: petals have unrolled from hibernation. They dangle from shells to ready for flight.

2. <Preg/nan/cy> starts with fertilization of an egg to create the embryo.

I remember the riddle: What came first, the chicken or the egg? Life arrives first. A zygote. We arrive wrapped from blankets of common yolk. Yolk is thick in touch because it is dense with story. Creatures begin beating their hearts curled together. Mothers sift their own nutrients through umbilical cords to their creation. Womb. Magnus opus. Pink flesh is created upon layer and juncture. Touch our spines, its groves are hollow yet filled in potential. Fetus: history is “un-inked.” Un-warred: fists remain closed. Augmentation: eyes are black specs unopened, innocuous. During birth, a baby cries because of sensations: life is so vast, it is so hungry, the air is so new.

About the Author | Margaret Siu is studying Plan II Honors at the University of Texas in Austin. She is a recipient of the Brown University Book Award, multiple Gold and Silver Keys from the Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards for her art and poetry, and an University Interscholastic League Journalism 1st Place Award for her Features Story. Chen has also been published in the Critical Pass Review for her work. She is impassioned about the political climates of both the Sinosphere and the United States. Chen is an avid fan of Naomi Shihab Nye, Mong-Lan, and Lin Manuel Miranda–those who endeavor to narrate their cultures through verse.

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