YInMn Blue


There’s a picture of me in my middle school yearbook. I’m wearing a horizontally striped blue and turquoise shirt while sitting on a fake wooden desk. The next year, I pair the shirt with a navy beanie from a small, off-brand mall store. The final year of middle school is the last time I’ll have that much space or snow to run around in. 

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Just as we were about to leave I bought a Hokusai print, his most famous view of Mount Fuji. I forgot about it as I wore my magnetic, off-tempo blue and turquoise striped shirt. There was too much blue in my life—the soft, green-blue Adidas shoes, dorkish, arctic-hued hiking sandals, and heavily cobalt-dyed Nikes. Then, I came here to the red and orange street, built before the blue dyes were dropped onto synthetic, stale fibers. I couldn’t smell the seagulls and salt south of my home anymore.

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Maybe all the art I collect would save me from the breathing, heaving city-beast. The streets are the tentacles: alley-small, lane-medium, thoroughfare-large. The outdoor scenes are the talismans wrapped inside handwoven cloth, a sacrifice left in the hushed square. Retro-colored, kitsch city drawings meant to perplex the tentacles into thinking they slithered to a foreign land. Seasonal statuettes keeping their duties as glum guardians.

The nature I confess was there to remind me of the place before the city-beast, but the nature was all wrongfully mine, not mine to cultivate on the beast’s scales. The dead cacti from someone long ago blocked on Facebook, handed off to whatever desert-dwelling creature needed the water. The rocks I seized off the shores of another sea—lesser than the the one south of my old home but still a sea I envisioned. 

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The wave is three shades of blue—no, what an inadequate adjective. It is admiral, azure, and celeste. The foam is the untouched virgin, rice paper. The wave is about to engulf the long, canoe-like boats, where the admiral-wrapped people stare into the depths of Poseidon’s lair. Its foam isn’t soft like the one a baby waddles into on the wave’s fringes at the beach; it’s the claw, more fingers than all the people on the boat. 

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Sometimes the fingers scare me like the tentacles behind me. I cover it with the photo printed on the fancy plastic paper. The photo’s shadows are slate-blue; it is the printer’s telegraph to me. Both of them cover themselves, one in the not-quite-black-not-quite-navy shade the night is right after dusk, and the other in the vintage cornflower-blue denim. They surround me like candles flanking an altar. I am not touched by the blue, not since the space and snow.

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Who am I to deceive and deliver the falsehood? The photo does not cover the entire claw-finger; I can still glance to my right and see the tops of the white-laced waves. The people ducking and squished in the boats are invisible somewhere behind the photo. Their fear is not palpable. It is manifested. I still clothe myself in the teal-turquoise and cerulean stripes.




By Amelia Dogan

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