2 Poems by Laura Wang

Illustration by Nia Chavez; outline of a person against the sun and cherry blossoms.

I Have Been Trying to Map for Absence

I have been trying to map for absence;
I take the same new route on every walk,
not near the storefronts’ ribbed metal faces.
Today, spring sunshine has stopped me outside
the elementary school. An easy wind
shakes the magnolia tree. Yesterday
it was filled with pink-and-white froth. It looks
full today, but how can it be? Today,
the cracked sky is not cloudless. Nor, any
longer, is the grass. There, see, on the ground,
a soft slaughter of petals. In a week,
I will pass this tree again. I will turn
to face these same broad branches. I will not
know how to mourn before such lonely green.

October Diary #2

I woke up
later than planned
(but still on
time). I ate
breakfast and drank
coffee. I walked
to the train
to the train
to the train.
I walked to
class where we
talked about stories,
grief, and salvation.
I went home.
My meals were
my own cooking.
Freedom is moving
in my own
body, my own
clothes, my own
direction. How easy
to forget the
cages underneath my
feet, locked
in my name.

Laura Wang lives in Brooklyn, where she writes stories and teaches human beings about molecules. She is currently an MFA candidate at Sarah Lawrence College. Most notably, she is frequently found in close proximity to delicious snacks, and wasting time on Twitter at @laura_c_wang.

Nia Chavez is an Illustrator + Designer from Bedstuy. She is a Pratt graduate with a BFA in Communications Design. Nia loves befriending cats, all seven 90 Day Fiancé spinoffs, grouping her Spotify playlists by year and mood, AND when you check out her Instagram and her website.

This honorarium has been directed at the poet’s request to Survived & Punished New York. About: S&P New York is a grassroots prison abolition organization, dedicated to freeing criminalized survivors of gender violence held in prisons in New York. Currently, S&P New York is focused on #FreeThemNY campaign, calling on Governor Cuomo to immediately use his clemency powers to free people from prisons.