Father

Your smile is longer than the distance
between sky and soil.
Eyes a blue-tinged smoke at their edges.
I can’t see through them.
You find refuge in your sparks of hunger,
but you eat so much you might be eating
yourself away.
Somewhere on the shores
of your acid words
if I walk far enough,
I think I might see some island of water.
I dip my fingers in the water.

You are a broken mirror, but I still see you
when I stand before it. It hurts to say—
I don’t want to become you.
That my skin is dry means don’t touch.
Don’t touch the water.

Jenny Shi is a senior at Palo Alto High School in California. A recent graduate of Fir Acres Writing Workshop, Jenny has blossomed into the world of poetry. Prior to that, she won a Scholastic Art & Writing award for a nonfiction essay (she prefers poetry). Additionally, she is a visual artist whose knowledge of the sciences seeps into her brushes. Jenny speaks three languages: English, Mandarin, and Spanish, and her favorite food is any kind of noodle.

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