Issue 7 / Poetry

Poetry by Lilian Ha

Stillwater, MN.

we ripped stockings into veils for a bruise

wrapped lace around each finger, counting glitters

painting one another gold in sweet roughness.


every first Monday we would explore caverns

behind the attic shelf, read spells off music sheets

sweep dust into sculptures and write them into song.


and when the Midwest skies turned angry

when puddles turned to moat and trees a castle

we lined the streets in stone and named each one a riverbed.


this was our forever storm –

shrieking naked into forest winds, unpolished and uprooted

suspended aimlessly in youth,

adulthood a summer burn on our tongues.


during one of the lasts, as we lay upon soil

in a crumbling shed, you cupped a hand to my knee

and whispered our hummingbird spirits immortal.


I still have the beads and your favorite blue feather.

one day I’ll sew them all together and fly back home to you.




so you’ll pick up the phone and set it down twice.

the voices hush, creak as nightfall silences itself –


the moon is too red tonight. you chop tomatoes

toss them in a pan and let oil spit on your skin.


you taste the burn and burn the tomatoes, but

now it is twelve. the colors have all gone home.


sometime after, you pour water in a glass and

set the glass in your teeth but it turns to dust.


damned evening. everything turns to filth so

you crack the mirror and wash each piece dry.


not before you catch a speckled glimpse, VHS

rewind of your ruby-rimmed eyes flickering and


flickering and screaming. the cot is folding itself

and the linen is crawling but you climb in anyway.


bed the monsters and shut your eyes. by morning

they’ll be as clean as the white light of day.



Night Feed

snaps        of fluorescence pierce their way into my lungs

do you remember?        reflections       of a shattered bottle

of thickened blood                   pooling in my stomach and

I bite my tongue  to keep each word from spilling over.

don’t hurt yourself dear,               not before the first song.


so the tongue is bit  and the flesh is clean and the noise

dances on in neon floodlight.                   I keep my hands

knotted as not to wander     or creep      and undress skin.

but        the night is still raw, the crowd readjusting itself

like feet on a branch           shifting                       shifting.


someone asks about the opening act,       or the grapefruit

punch. soon it is two      my nails have dirtied and one by

one         the boys cut themselves on the nape of my neck.

I let them taste the punch      like an acid kick to the buds.

baby      baby        I hope you kept your piece of my ache.



Lilian Ha is a junior in high school from the suburbs of Seattle, Washington, where she is an active member of the creative youth community. Her work is forthcoming in The Cadaverine and she is currently interning at Winter Tangerine. Selected by David Ishaya Osu.

Image copyright Jody Joldersma.