Back to Adroit Prizes. / Back to Issue Twelve.

SaLT

BY EMILY ZHANG
 

Richard Montgomery High School, '16
2015 Adroit Prize for Poetry: Honorable Mention

 

When I spit white and dawn my mouth is clean.
I touch myself where he touched me. I touch

a myth about a dancing river, a copper fist.
I stick my fingers into the river to feel like a glass

balloon. When he touched me I was full
of spit. I do not know how to talk empty, talk

backwards. In a horror movie a finch falls
out of an ocean. Someone is hungry and the sky

moves damp and slow. I am never full. When
it is dark out the sky closes itself like a window.

 

STORY FOR THE SaLT

BY EMILY ZHANG
 

Richard Montgomery High School, '16
2015 Adroit Prize for Poetry: Honorable Mention

 

I smile ugly when the sky looks like spilled gasoline
and you cannot do anything about it. It is impossible

to burn something transparent. There are birds blooming
in the river and no one talks about it. I want to live someplace

bigger than myself. A house burning with the quickness
of water. In July you gave me a bowl of spat out cherry pits

and I gave you a dead bird. Now you are taking it all
back, flood back to the mouth, fish back to the mangroves

that smell like sweetness and light. The sky looks like a mouth,
a mirror. It has a slow storm in its palms and it tastes

like salt, like forgetfulness. I forgot the rules of the world
that complain when rivers don’t move. The name of a silent

thing. I will call it a hunger that’s just now nosing for breath.

 

 

Emily Zhang is a high school junior from Maryland. Her poetry appears in Word Riot and the NewerYork, and her writing has been recognized by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, The Kenyon Review's Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize, and The Sierra Nevada Review.