By M. Cynthia Cheung
2collage by Ana Prundaru
Theory: the ritual depends
on what I’d want to find: (who was)
my favorite niece, or what
to remember: the difference between love
& loved. To understand (why)
foxes are red. Up. Down.
Then again, what keeps the scree
Truth: a horse’s foreshadow
forces my hand, like pinholes expanding
across the sky. I watch the universe
fill with opposites: stars, anti-
stars, anti- matter—strange particles
that once belonged to someone before
someone else. Were they beautiful
before we discovered them? Before fox
(for)ever belonged to hunted?
Witches say it’s possible to throw
a charm over one’s shoulder. A shot
in the dark, it could call a djinn
from the depths, the way the aneurysm
in my skull once rose exquisite,
anonymous as it silently exploded.
How do we return (from)? Where was I
then, when I was
(in)substantial? O my devastation
M. Cynthia Cheung is a physician whose poems can be found in The Baltimore Review, Pleiades, RHINO, swamp pink, (formerly Crazyhorse), SWWIM Everyday, Tupelo Quarterly and others. She was a finalist for the 2023 Sunken Garden Chapbook Poetry from Tupelo Press, as well as a finalist or semi-finalist for in 2022 for the Snowbound Chapbook Award also from Tupelo Press, Two Sylvias Chapbook Prize, and Black River Chapbook Competition from Black Lawrence Press. Her work is supported by a 2023 Idyllwild Arts fellowship. She serves as a judge for Baylor College of Medicine’s annual Michael E. DeBakey Medical Student Poetry Awards. Find out more at www.mcynthiacheung.com.
Ana Prundaru was born in Romania and presently lives in Switzerland. Alongside her legal career, she writes and illustrates for publications like Nashville Review, The Journal, New England Review and Kyoto Journal.