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02. help, running low on cliches to write about – Jessica Zhou

“humility is not thinking less of yourself,

but rather, thinking of yourself less.”

where is the fine line between confessional poetry

and an incoherent mess?

 

she tried to tape a cracked mirror in the middle of

a gilded frame only to cut her fingers in the process.

she still can’t see herself for who she is

because her contacts aren’t in. yet.

it’s okay though, her downfall was trying to see through others’ eyes,

but more than that, likening herself to a charity,

unworthy of anyone’s donations of time.

 

not a mistake.

not to be validated like a parking ticket,

justified like Times New Roman on

the page of an essay you stayed up,

stinging eyes and all, to write.

 

the last thing he said to me before we faded to strangers

was the darker the blood, the fresher it was.

whenever i scrape my knees, i think of you as vividly as i did years ago;

whenever i bruise my ankles i see you behind a translucent screen

and all i feel is a dull throbbing.

 

when grandma fries fish the flesh

grotesquely gurgles in gold oil,

and i bite down, trying not to feel guilty about death

and consumption about waste and

ungratefulness and foolishness and pride and MOM,

THE WORLD IS A TERRIBLE PLACE AND, AND,

I COULD FIX IT ALL

IF YOU’D JUST LEAVE ME ALONE

 

a year ago i wrote about how your collarbones

looked like the crook of an owl’s wing

how the sky was able to remain beautiful and worthy despite change.

you are a work of goddamn art even if it means

painstakingly painting on your own gold flowers,

even if it means carefully picking up the shards and trying

not to cut up your freshly bandaged fingers,

even if it means framing your own mirror,

 

i hope to see you on the other side.

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