Size / / /

Content warning:

a ghazal

I’ll tell you all the ways a movie scene can slice
open your mouth. The two antagonists slice

a bear’s throat for survival and you call that
heroic. The main character holds up a slice

of red velvet cake from her roommate’s party
and dumps it on a mattress. Even the slice-

of-life movies cannot distinguish capitalism
from cannibalism. An ongoing war slices

into your country and people are still eating
their pasts in penthouses, devouring unsliced

bodies of cash. The protagonist’s love interest
mistakes the Lunar New Year red for a slice

of his Valentine heart, comedic in all the ways
an apocalypse can be. An earthquake slices

the scene shut, like a snapdragon that blooms
in early March. Movies can be deceptive: slice

them open and you will find the same post-
credits scene of drunk-dazed girls slicing

peaches in the backyard. A dragonfly whirs
past and one of the girls accidentally slices

its wings off with her knife. To know of
violence is to somersault into it, slick

like the metal of a blade. Look, your
mouth is growing fangs, ready to slice.

You will become un-humaned, trapped
in a movie scene that will become a slice

of your life. I am not surprised by how
it all ends: a montage reversed into slices.



[Editor’s Note: Publication of this poem was made possible by a gift from Marta Malinowska during our annual Kickstarter.]

Jessica Kim is the author of L(EYE)GHT. She has been recognized as the 2022 West Regional Youth Poet Laureate and National Youngarts Finalist in Writing (Poetry). Her poems appear in POETRY Magazine, NPR's All Things Considered, The Adroit Journal, and others. She studies computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Current Issue
20 May 2024

Andrew was convinced the writer had been trans. By this point his friends were tired of hearing about it, but he had no one else to tell besides the internet, and he was too smart for that. That would be asking for it.
You can see him / because you imagine reconciliation.
It’s your turn now. / the bombs have come in the same temper— / you in your granny’s frame
Issue 13 May 2024
Issue 6 May 2024
Issue 29 Apr 2024
Issue 15 Apr 2024
By: Ana Hurtado
Art by: delila
Issue 8 Apr 2024
Issue 1 Apr 2024
Issue 25 Mar 2024
By: Sammy Lê
Art by: Kim Hu
Issue 18 Mar 2024
Strange Horizons
Issue 11 Mar 2024
Issue 4 Mar 2024
Load More