Channel Orange

after the album by Frank Ocean

        I cut glass into oblong teardrops. I drape myself in pink.
I am the morning running behind you, taking your shaky nightmare hands,
        dragging you away from absent fluorescence. I have willed & wanted
this for so long—this bleak fever dream, this fading road—the one that begins
at the lake & ends at a vacancy sign. I remember the half-summer
we knew together, our bodies constructed from warmth &
        bleeding light. I gave you every name I knew & still cannot
find the right one, which is to say you were turbulence before
I could find a word for it. There is nothing more left here, nothing more
we can do in our regrettably finite lives. All I can ask of you
is to stay with me this unimagined night, on the fringes of star-studded
        tranquility. Every dream I have begins with TV static & ends with a rainbow.
I give you the colors you have lost over the years, but it is not enough.
You are home & finally gentle. Your empty torso becomes full again & yet
        I am shrinking into a lesser version of you—
which is to say, when I grow old I will know nothing except impulse
& excavated memory. You tell me to close the curtains so you can cry, and a moth
flies out from between the folds. I could ask about your dreams of hypnotized bodies &
        hazy sirens, but I would rather let it drown in the bay—
which is to say I can forget the snowbank & floodlights & screaming
        & just tuck this under the doormat like my house key—
which is to say, three years ago I opened myself up for you in an overcrowded bar
        but you can take your oil paints & desk lamp & satin sheets—
which is to say we knew what was coming long before it happened—
        which is to say—
that one dull night when we read together in a desolate park,
there was a sickly burning at the bottom of my throat.

About the Author

Anika Prakash is a senior in high school and the editor-in-chief of Red Queen Literary Magazine. Her poetry has been recognized by The Adroit Journal, Scholastic Art & Writing, and the Writers’ Theatre of New Jersey, and her work has appeared or is forthcoming in a Platypus Press anthology, Red Paint Hill, Noble Gas Qtrly, Hobart, The Ellis Review, and Glass, among others.