“A Meditation” by Riley Lopez

Find a rooftop on the Lower East Side.
Wait for a night with a
Breeze, but no clouds.
Lie down on your back.
Count the specks of light
Occluded by the lights
Of all the lonely people on this island.

Paint your toes in the dark.
Pick your mom’s favorite color.
Let them dry as you
Recline on that rooftop.
Keep counting the dots.

Stroll over to the edge.
Let your painted toes hang over the side.
Feel the wind wiggle between them.
Say your name.
Say the name of your mom’s favorite color.


Riley is a college student in New York. For him, pride largely influences his writing, in that it provides him with an honest voice of which he did not know he was capable. Writing proudly about all his fleeting flings and infatuations, his bittersweet reckoning with his Catholic upbringing, and his experience as a young person in the city helps him cultivate his identity, both as a writer and a gay guy.