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encounter during night of death

CAS for Database

Jessica Kim

La Cañada, California

La Cañada High School


tonight, a girl straggles

below streetlights, the horizon

noosing her limbs taut.

away, an apothecary storefront

vaults with closure and the back alleys

wind into cul-de-sacs. she does not

return home. instead, the girl trapezes

across monkey bars and scrapes

the achromatic skies, eyeless.

armed with fiberglass arrows

in this playing ground. unrelenting

to the sickle moon and every

reflection of herself in past lives:

vinyl records, broken gods, feet bound

by quiet retributions. she cradles

some tight-beaked sparrow

in her palms, mistaking cacophonies

for the creaks of swing-sets

carved on backbone. oscillating

in the world’s tongue and someday,

she will fly. call it nostalgia.

the quagmire sinking all

pesky ambitions. she pleats each

inflated wound into her shirtdress

and constricts dreams in her intestine.

shredding memories from bone marrow,

still climbing up the curvature

of a soft embrace. nearby,

foxtails ward off the hounds

that bay for her bones. she is here,

dissolving into midsummer heat

as the night loosens. in this way,

the world meddles with everything

that can never be hers. as dawn

meets the sockets where her eyes were,

the girl un-sees, eternally burning.

Note: This piece was previously published in Cosmonauts Avenue.


I’m partial to any piece of literature containing an apothecary, and this piece is no exception. Flush with imagery that makes you shiver, a girl looking to fly, and a narrative voice that will stick in your mind forever, this is a poem that you will want to print off and stick on your wall.

Jessica Kim is a high school sophomore from Southern California. A two-time 2021 Pushcart nominee, her work appears or is forthcoming in Wildness Journal, Diode Poetry Journal, Cosmonauts Avenue, Grain Magazine, Longleaf Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, and more. She is the founding editor of The Lumiere Review and edits for several other literary magazines.


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