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The rain stilling in our mouths & we are quiet,
   passing through these flooded streets.

In June, a city catatonic in its sickness,
   wreaths of streetlights stretching its mouth

in shades of disaster. I watch an entire reel
   of gaslight unfold. With a torch,

everything is permissible, permeable.
   Overhead, the moon blurring like sycamores

on a night train. I burn skin-suits,
   sheens of motor-oil in the basement.

Like how you traded for a net of every name lost
   in the throat of a storm—a miscarriage of salt.

Tracks stretching all the way to the shore,
   turning bird-bodied. A swarm of swallows to sacrifice.

Come dawn, I flatten my face against
   every storefront window—altar god, candles drowning

in gold. My hands never fast enough
   to catch a hymn or the engine’s whistle.

Here, I search for everything we burned to keep
   the power on, pockets of mercury.



Yong-Yu Huang is a Taiwanese student living in Malaysia. Her work is forthcoming in Frontier Poetry, Passages North, and Counterclock Journal, among others, and has been recognized by Princeton University, The Kenyon Review, and Columbia College Chicago. She is the winner of the 2021 Elinor Benedict Poetry Prize and the prose winner for the 2021 Counterclock Awards. In her free time, she enjoys listening to Studio Ghibli soundtracks and sitting by bonfires on the beach.
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27 Jun 2022

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