Nets and Roadmaps

by Ellen Zhang

My mother jabbers

of food and cooking


I imagine all women
with slim waists
yearning to feed everyone
the meat of themselves showing

somewhere from their care


My brother runs
toes squishing between imported sand
ready to dive into water

without a swimming trunk


He smells

like fish in the end


I find a girl heading off into the
unknown like me
so simple and not so simple
fish netted between dependence
and independence
We talk of our worlds from five time zones apart
but we both listen to Taylor Swift and
we both watch Friends

Mandarin blooms from the tips of my tongue


My brother’s seat is damp on the way home
He is tired
but not so tired to not recount
adventures of the day
He caught a fish, but
let it go.
We, kids, in the back are all Cancer

Do we believe in fate?


My mother is letting me go
but holding onto be tight
but I am a fish, or a star,
and I cannot be bound.
She is feeding me her sorrows,