Hometown Voices

Yesterday I feared my voice
Was a sham

When it bled through the crowd
In an octave even higher

Than the exposed concrete ceiling,
Its pipes stretching the corners

In yoga positions.
The latest trend in my ZIP code

Is to patent these poses,
Because we claim the acres

That our aching voices cower beneath
As our own geographies.

In these parts the fish travel for us,
Our passports the piles of trout

We revive when the river redraws
Its banks across shadows and then retreats

Into its body.
Everything eventually withdraws

Into the character it has carved for itself.
The bungled bungalow calls for its repairmen,

Roads are recalled by factories when the trucks
Forget the lamplights.

I’m summoned home
When my body forgets forgiveness,

That dropping a memory down a drain
Only erases what the eyes have seen,

But not the action, the verb,
The tremors that verbosity always betrays.

Even those waves still revert to normal pitch,
But the pits inside the peaches of our minds

Still remember what the metal felt like,
The feeling of being scooped out by a spoon,

Of being removed from our own bodies
In such a spontaneous manner.

Steven Chung is a high school student in the Bay Area.

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