our shoes in varying hues of gray,
each one lighter than the last. slate to smoke to silver to cloud.
shoes melting into knee socks into skirt into skin,
a light gray, the morning horizon after a storm.
the grass wet with rain,
you fall once on the hill down
and twice on the way back up. we play soccer
with a field hockey ball, orange and too-substantial:
a muddy apple at our feet. we say it’s not gravity that keeps us bound,
in all of its lovely opposite-of-normal-force splendor. no, perhaps if we had stars
strung on our shoelaces, we could fly. glitter will keep us afloat.
maybe fairy dust. maybe light up skechers
will make us run faster; stomp twice to tread clouds.
maybe rhinestones will give us something to hold.
twenty-first century romeo and juliet takes place in a michigan suburb after a gum surgery.
pink satin slip dress she bought on a black friday sale the day before strewn across the floor.
bottles of anesthetic and antibiotic drugs line her bookshelf.
she steps toward her window,
then crouches, wraps her arms around her bare legs,
exposed and billowing,
looks across orchard walls, stony limits.
seven feet down and separated by a bug screen, romeo calls to juliet.
wings and swearing by the moon is nothing
if he had walked four hours from troy to bloomfield hills.
your name, your name, she signs.
her doctor told her not to speak
and so she talks with her hands.
then tilts her blinds half-closed. reaches for the bottle of painkillers.
presses an ice pack to her puffy cheek.
metropolises, however hard they try to be obscure,
are always spinning. interferences and wave patterns,
rippling out. two boys passing on the sidewalk reach out their hands.
i sink into the display glass of a nearby coffee shop.
knock over a platter of pastries.
the humid bookstores. the cold floors.
perhaps i pass my soulmate on the way back from times square.
the subways. a layer of newspaper between us.
the yellow city sings like a waning moon cake.
exhales without a sound.
Kristine Ma is a high school junior hailing from Michigan. She received two national Gold Medals, six Gold Keys and several other regional recognitions from the National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, as well as the Best of Grade award. In the summer, she attended a creative writing master class at Northwestern University with poet Richie Hofmann. Her work is forthcoming from Bridge: The Bluffton University Literary Journal. Kristine is the English section editor for her school’s academic journal and an editor for her school’s award-winning literary magazine, Spectrum. She is also on the creative writing team at The Incandescent Review. When she isn’t writing, she can be found playing piano and oboe, hugging stuffed animals, watching anime, and dreaming.