Plutonian and Hold Up Your Hands to the Sky

By Tina Zhu


"Hubble Discovers a Fifth Moon Orbiting Pluto" courtesy of NASA Goddard Photo and Video (

the bus pound-
ing an uneven road
has a pulse, a pulse that throbs
somewhere distantly beneath her. she is pulled
into her own orbit,
away from the feel of thighs against a clammy
leather seat, from guttural machine sounds
and stale air that tastes of corned beef & deodorant.
she is moored in shifting sloughs of shade.
the bus veers —
to the right; then in her eyes is sunlight
in a sudden silent

and she yearns to be submerged
in sunshine. she wants, she wants to unfurl
waxen petals towards the sun, to let
sweet sunshine sink
into every crevice, every crease
in her thoughts:
the way rain seeps
into cracks
in parched earth

tires shriek out at the touch of pavement;
the bus veers —
to the left (her heart
skips a beat)

& she remembers:
she is Plutonian,
a mass of cold, hard rock and ice
curled up on a bus seat
lifetimes away
from the sun


hold up your hands to the sky

you thought you could just hold up your hands
to the sky
& weave your fingers
into the frailest reed basket
& seize the setting sun.
you thought it could be yours;
it would be something that you’d simply cage
between your palms,
something you could have —

Image courtesy of maureen_sill (

the sun
quivering fingers & bitter air and
slowly through the ground
(just when you looked away)

now your eyes flash greenbluepurplered
when you squeeze them shut:
seared onto the insides
of your eyelids is a cutout
of the sun

(some things you’ll never have
until you look away)

**Another poem by Tina, “Apple Wine,” will appear next week as part of our October “Fall Treats” Poem Drive & Contest.

Tina Zhu is currently a junior at an international high school in Shanghai. She discovered poetry at age ten and hasn’t been the same since.


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