Sarah Yi-Mei Tsiang


The children are scattered hens
in the November playground,
pecking at the remnants of play.

Too old now for dandelions,
duck-duck-goose, too old
for themselves, trying on the mantle
of boredom that pre-teens
wear like a fresh tattoo,
sore and new to their skin.

They kick at the dirt until one
finds a dusty stone, the size of a fist,
or a heart. And,

if they were younger, they would
pretend it was a cake, a sceptre,
or an egg pulsing with new life.

If they were younger. But now,
they take it like seagulls, riotous,
hungry, lift it high into the air
and smash it over and over against the brick wall

in a frenzied violence, trying to leave
their mark on the school’s face
before the teachers round the corner.
Then the rock suddenly

breaks open into
glittering mica,
exquisite shards of light
at their feet.

Sarah Yi-Mei Tsiang is the author of 11 books, including picture books, poetry, and fiction. Her award-winning work has been internationally sold and translated. She is currently a professor of Creative Writing at Sheridan College.