After Victoria

Last night, you asked about migration:
how it felt to traverse mountains.
The words trickled out of my mouth

like a feral arpeggio peeled from the fissures
of your flute—a cascade of heaving syllables
that left me burnt and breathless.

You can’t explain disintegration.
Instead, I bared myself to you, skeins of
blood and marrow branded with lessons

on how to unspool your belongings to create the
illusion of home within the seams of each
new concrete prison. A slaughterhouse where

you are the ticking bomb and the only
escape is the cadaver’s embrace. In exchange,
you teach me how to conduct the

symphony of life—with a
revolver buried deep in
my throat, always one finger
soft upon the trigger.

Hannah Miao is a student at Stanford University. Her work is published in Right Hand Pointing and Burningword Literary Journal. She has been nationally recognized by Princeton University, Columbia College, the National Student Poets Program, and the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.

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