65 Cybele

by Sabrina Guo

In the summer
when it pours,
a lake forms

in my backyard,
rivulets soaking
the grass—

a jungle monsoon
thousands
of miles away.

My boots heavy
in the rain,
I share my sorrow

with calming droplets
and hear my truth,
recall that

I was born in Queens,
of which I remember little
except for smoke unfurling

from apartment roofs
before my family moved
to Long Island,

which is hardly an island
at all. It’s not tropical
for one thing, and you don’t need

a boat or a plane
to get there. In Oyster Bay,
it snows in the winter,

cold enough for hot
cocoa and heavy coats.

The blades of my skates
cut into the ice
but they don’t break the surface

as the frozen asteroid
65 Cybele did
four point five billion

years ago, breaking off
a chunk of rock
that then became the moon.

In concert with the sun,
that solar nebula
collapsed by gravity

spread its tendrils
over the earth, melted
the ice that remained

into bodies of water.
But where did the asteroid’s ice
come from in the first place?

I can’t help but ask
when I feel the blades
of my skates tracing lines,

knowing full well
all stories must start
somewhere:

water is made of molecules
and molecules
are made of atoms

and atoms are made
of neutrons, electrons,
and protons—

opposite forces,
that need each other
to form life.

Everything a process—
an experience
of coming

into contact
with the other.