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Holding Blue

I feel bees inside of me, for of course where else might they go. There is a restless struggle for warmth on this earth. A type of urgency guiding our lives. Narrow. Straight. Barely time to worry about side effects. Humans are good at taking off, but not that great at landing. Good at treating symptoms, but not the causes that root to rot. The earth holds the smell of rain tight against its chest. Prayers against absolution. These days, it burns itself without end, singes evergreens, nests of mourning doves, ashes for days to come. In Boston, the sky is clear today. Carefully curated green, gardens in an architectural foreground. Calculated places for solitary renewal. Where there are dozens of incidental findings, let there be suspicion. Something must be wrong. Fear makes us cautious. Distance makes us ignorant. There are no monuments to suspend such warnings. What use are graphs, forecasts, scientific epiphanies. Somewhere there are red skies against forest fires, gray soot for miles, choking. Here, it is blue.


Poetry by Ellen Zhang. Ellen is a student at Harvard Medical School who has been recognized by the 2022 DeBakey Poetry Prize, 2022 Dibase Poetry Contest, and as 2019 National Student Poet Semifinalist. She aims to use writing to unravel the complexities of medicine and advocate for important issues, such as climate change.

Image by Aliona Ciobanu. Aliona is a multidisciplinary designer based in the Netherlands, where she is doing a degree in graphic design at the Royal Academy of Arts in Den Haag.

Her works oscillate between several media, printed matter, interactive media, sound, and installation. She uses the research methods as a form of collaboration and engagement with the subject, but also as a tool to build visual language around. Find her on Instagram.


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