Girl by featured artist Lora Mathis

      10 Words That Don’t Exist in English

      The anticipation before a first kiss. Everything you know about someone else’s body changes after this moment.

      Waking up in the midnight hours from a bad dream, to find arms already wrapped around you. Maybe this is home. Maybe this is comfort. Maybe it is temporary.

      The two seconds between “we need to talk” and when its meaning registers in your foggy mind. Your heart has dropped to somewhere between your stomach and your feet. You do not want it back just yet. It has already splintered.

      Watching a child sleep on a mother’s shoulder. I am halfway between hope and nostalgia for something that has yet to happen. There is an ache behind my ribs and a small, phantom hand slipping into mine. It belongs to a little girl with my cheeks and my mother’s tenacity. I want to meet her. I will not tell her she is beautiful. I will tell her she is a fighter.

      The certainty of permanence. It is more than a ring on your fourth finger. It is thirty years together, and finding that the inside of their thigh has molded to the shape of your fingers. You cannot sit without letting some part of your bodies overlap, and that has become your resting spot. There is a palm-sized print at the base of your spine. It is more indelible than any tattoo.

      The perfect high bun. Hair is a fickle thing. It does not stay the same color. I can see this in my grandmother’s mortality. It does not stay the same length. I can see this in the 12 inches I cut off, the same 12 inches he loved to run his hands through. I appreciate my hair now. A perfect high bun is a rare thing.

      Raindrops hitting my window as I sip a hot cup of tea. Outside my reality, there are people seeking cover under bus shelters and lonely alcoves. I wonder what I have done to deserve this life. The answer is nothing.

      Finding someone who will uproot an entire field just to find you a four-leaf clover. It is yours to keep. They tell you they used up their luck in meeting you. I would not know. I have only met those looking for wildflowers in me, and realized they were digging through land mines.

      Cold pizza after a hangover is the eighth deadly sin.

      I think perhaps you are the ninth.


Carmen Ye

All I have ever wanted was for someone to find home in my words. When I realized poetry was that medium for me, writing made sense to me again after a long hiatus. Part-time writer, part-time activist, and part-time baker, I make time for all the things that ground and heal me. Thought Catalog has published some of my prose, and I also write at