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The Next April


My eyes can take in everything

but they cannot hold tears.


Lazy midday sun,

a sweet touch.

Now —


An unfamiliar voice.

There are more dishes on the dining table

Too much salt.

One less chair occupied

One more joss paper to burn

next April.

A daughter watches her mother holding on

To her mother’s calloused hands.

Too sudden.

The unsaid and unacknowledged,

Too late.

My eyes cannot hold tears

But they can take in everything.

Elena Zhang grew up in England and China, and is currently enrolled at Choate Rosemary Hall as a highschool junior. Through writing and photography, Elena tells stories of her multicultural background and experiences of the Chinese diaspora community in creative ways. Her writing and photography are published on Teen Ink, elementia, and acknowledged by Scholastic. You can find more of her works on

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