i like to imagine that every mythical creature is somebody's child, somebody

who became so drenched in lore and life that it poured into their pores and

reshaped their retinas and stomach and heart

shaped by the memory of memory, dragons hold tales in their eyes and in the

linings of their livers, their bodily functions kept running by the memory

of memory

the eve of my high school graduation, i dreamed

about a dragon who lived in the burnt out husk of a tree at the base of a

snow-table clothed mountain

her belly hung low, still full from her long-gone days of tasting the yellow

band that the sun cast in the frost-riddled sky

she clung to the land like a meteor not yet raveled

her eyes glistened,

but not like a star

more like a wound

one of her stab-sharp claws slowly reached out,

piercing into my shoulder i didn’t feel a thing

my upper left chest just ached a bit; phantom heart pains, i guess

standing there, breathing in the rhythm of her sleep-slow

heartbeat, the hand i’d fisted since birth softened into open.

the dragon spoke to me without her mouth:

rest yourself, baby. put your head

on my shoulder, touch your skin to mine

let’s start a new universe, hmm?

and i could feel it in the way my throat was suddenly

conscious of what kept it moist and by the way i held reality not by the throat

but by the hand: I was somebody’s child.

i woke up,

skin still against skin,

chest bruised in the shape of a wing.

Yasmine Bolden is a Pushcart Prize and Scholastic American Voices nominated Black American poet, author, part-time creative writing coach, and bear hug enthusiast. Her work has found homes in Love Letters: To the Mothers and Fathers of the African Diaspora anthology, Perhappened Magazine, and Salima Magazine among others. At heart, she's still the voracious reader who talked her way into getting more than the five book limit from her elementary school library. You can find her carrying on about Wakanda and the moon on Twitter @blkpunningpoet.