Revisiting Union County, Indiana
Lake Success, NY
Great Neck South High School
I held Indiana by tangled mane—
your ceramic blue irises
and rusted-earth lips
that mumbled birdsong into my ear
in the understory.
bleached bark dense
with shadowed secrets and leftovers
littered inside those switchback
what exactly weren’t you telling me?
tonight I’m waiting for them.
I wonder if you’re still skinny and scapula
jutting like last time, when we shared
a Winston cigarette outside the county fair
tuned in to distant growl and clangor.
you really listening to me then? when
I told you, My dad was a demolition derby
man, hoping you would respond
with something, anything heroic. Rather,
I kissed you to strangle the silence.
Jodie, please stop—I don’t like girls.
and like that, I am picked clean,
thinking maybe these nights aren’t for me.
Indiana, I’m so overwhelmed
I’ve started spilling ink, addressing you
instead. You’re so full of living stuff.
With its beautiful and vivid descriptions of union county complementing the angsty tone of the speaker, this piece speaks beautifully to the teenage experience, while artfully avoiding cliche.
Andrea Zhou is a 16-year-old junior at Great Neck South High School in New York (Class of 2022). She has been actively involved in school writing clubs since 6th grade, and currently serves as the editor for Exit 33, a student-run magazine. Her hobbies include reading and golf.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR