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The Rainfall Years


Walnut Hill School for the Arts, '16
2016 Adroit Prize for Poetry: Editors' List


I carry him silent to a place of war: where
skin cannot touch water, or the minnows spin

dust with blood. I search for God in the light,
but the redwoods have thinned their stances like sun-dried

lungs, sighing prayers thicker than fog. I once found
a boy trapped between two walls. Baptized him in

curtains that breathed with his spine, rounded like
a broken sanctuary. He said to me, this kind of hunger is

too cold. Still I wade calf-deep in, sift bamboo from
gasoline and build a canoe for two. The world unrestrained

is blued by sin, where the river learns a body. His body,
emptied of light, spills in shadows from the branches,

my elbows. We've walked through this forest before, our
knees scrubbed pink of invocation. Here

our mouths shift with the glaciers as we slot into
hollowed margins, our bodies curled like haloes

and sleep to the muted song of the birds.  




Walnut Hill School for the Arts, '16
2016 Adroit Prize for Poetry: Editors' List


I coated my knees with the blood
of a swallow. Its remiges split
like a Japanese fan. This is our

ritual: scale a hangnail clean,
watch flesh prune a coast. Act as if
I have seen the skeleton

of the ocean. As if I’ve yolked
its bones into glass bowls—the
spine of an amethyst. There is no

sound more gentle than the swallow
of a dream. I dream you touched me
with a candle: nothing burned                        

except the salt ingrained to my                      
hip. A headless trout, mouthing,
only if you want to. I want to

feel the heat of a sweeter song,
the song of a living swallow. To
forget the color of opened flesh.  



Helli Fang is a senior at Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick, Massachusetts. Her writing has been recognized by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and she has attended the Iowa Young Writer's Studio. Her poetry is forthcoming in Yellow Noise and Glass Kite Anthology. When Helli is not writing, she enjoys playing the violin and climbing trees.