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A Zoom Call, Before Treatment

Kan Ren Jie

He has started praying –
my mother says, clenching in her hands
a blurry set of pixels. An image

of him. How strangely
the bones clatter: a field,

torched like water. I imagine
the shooting of beams — the way,

drenched with sweat — the welts
would form, like the lines

that bend to a collar. In the years
before we would run, gasping.

The evening park, the paths that stretched.
A shirt, fluttering. The cicadas

that screeched. His head, its bobbing —
the rounds, paved between us. The evening

sky layered, sewed like seams.
The light a bridge, covering silence.

In the years since
I have searched for an entrance:

to see again – in fluorescence,
the towering columns of clouds, the trees,

their spindly leaves – bodies
that broke sound. His old shirt,

pooling sweat. But now the pixels
strain. I see stretched protrusions —

those asterisks, some glimmers
of light. His blurred

tearing. Like a curved path
forking into the evening —

darkening, the purple dressed
against the trees. For one last round.
This shadow, leaving.