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no one loves a mind-reader,

not one who delights in secrets, lining

them up one by one on a mahogany shelf

dripping lemon honey from each glued on screw

there are emerald hummingbirds at the window

snapping their beaks against the fairyglass

but she will never let them in because these secrets are mine

 

mine, mine, and so the shelves grow,

the wood expands with each passing exhale. soft affairs

no husband would notice turn into big hulking monstrosities that people

prayed they could forget.

once upon a time this mind-reader told a boy

her secrets, she gave him half her dripping heart

and he took a bite, gave her his. she told him

about crouching cicadas falling dead onto her six year old head

rolling shattered fairyglass between her teeth daring for it to cut her

when she was twelve she read in her father’s biblical mind that the world was ending

she tried to beat it to the finish line. once upon

a time she read this boy’s mind as he held her in his arms. she asked him questions.

she didn’t like the answers his slippery tongue told.

 

honey grows mold

deadly bacteria hides in the sickly yellow

she gets drunk on it anyways.



Ashley Bao is a Chinese-Canadian-American high school sophomore. Her poetry and short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Liminality and Cast of Wonders.
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18 May 2020

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