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Misfire

BY CHRISTINA IM
 

Sunset High School, '18
2016 Adroit Prize for Poetry: Honorable Mention

 

I wake spring-fisted; the hills are blameless
            still. There are so many things
that should hurt me. My fingers, cold. His shadow, 

            not. Stone houses slouching
into burning. Time as it passes through his body— 
            & his body, not safe to touch, 

even now. His eyes all tongue & everywhere
            smoke. If these are not mistakes
what is. I can only pronounce the word together

            in the dark. These days the sky
gapes open & I sit inside it for hours. The walls
            are always drying. & I know

what to say about language: his hands. & the sun
            grows afraid to talk back. & I
know what to say about knowing: if you let it

            it will swallow you straight
into sleep. The earth keeps spinning & this too
            is a story about hunger, about

the stains the air makes & my exhales, clouded.
            A thousand traitors shifting
in the underbrush, the traces they never leave.

 

 

Christina Im is fifteen years old and attends high school in Portland, Oregon. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in YARN: Young Adult Review Network, Strange Horizons, Words Dance, and Rose Red Review, among others. In addition, her work has been recognized by Hollins University and the National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.