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Picture autumn of the year; the creek
runs marrow-thick. The air breathes feral,
yellow milk on doorsteps left like children
to curdle past noon. There's a reason
no one in these parts writes about wolves
anymore. There's a reason the stars
hang low. Behind shut doors,
I speak moonblood, deathsong, dusk
settling under my floorboards. A stake
is raised in the square before dawn,
and iron is the price for a soul.

is a study in snapped branches. By this,
I mean it reeks of things that no longer think
to step softly. After dark,
a half-shadowed hunger comes down
to the waterside to drink. Armor is not enough
in those hours of night, no matter
how unpierced, how cruel carmine.
Wooded paths are no friend to pale ankles
and a flower chain worn against
a white white neck.

Look closely now: I contradict
the gaping gray stillness, little more
than a crow's frame and a tightening
of the eyes. In two blinks, gone.
In two mouthfuls, a mess of color
to drape over the teeth. I make a lattice
of my fingers as a house for my heartbeat.
See how I quiver with my smallest
of faiths. How my small face
beckons to the grasping trees.
How my small feet leave no prints
for the morning. How quietly
I am asking to be caught.

Christina Im is fifteen years old and attends high school in Portland, Oregon. She has been recognized both regionally and nationally by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in several publications, including Words Dance and Rose Red Review.
Current Issue
21 Nov 2022

As far back as I could remember, Oma warned me about the bats. She said they would eat me if they found me exposed at night. But I knew the green light of the moon would protect me, even when I was still smaller than Oma.
The truth is: / she does not have to bend into a ceramic plate to carry us beautifully, & my father / isn't the hand that will break her.
the rattle of the rails, the shuffling-muttering of hundreds of passengers nestled in the one long limb of you
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