The streets are dark & yellow here, a masterclass in color correction.
They’re warm, I remember, and whispering, and they guide my eyelids down in slumber.
Sometimes, the stones underneath me fall loose, crash into the waves of ambivalence.
I wonder if my grief would echo at the edge of the earth,

That’s the way it goes, mom would whisper in my hair. Like a horse
galloping across mars, fast, & beautiful, but running. I’m always
running. Not to trouble, like she says. Maybe to God, to have

I want to be the bluest girl in all the land but He says no. That’s
the way love goes, mom whispers. Dad & God & Dad
again. Dad eats candy corn out of big white bowls
& sometimes I think about dying.

Mom mixes asphalt with oatmeal, spoons it to me like my first
morning – I can’t cry anymore, but I sacrifice a finger to
the cause.
In the evening, Mr. Doctor itches my brain & sends me
on my way. I’m too small, he tells me, too

I sleep in a dead man’s closet & dream about his tights.

I think about his grief echoing at the edge of the earth, the stones
falling out beneath him, my finger crunching under
his feet. I wonder if he considers
himself lucky.

M. N. Lee is a student at the University of Southern California. Though she studies in LA, she’s originally from Memphis, which she will always tout as the greatest city in the world.

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