I feel you between the dust storms and failed harvests.
Give up on the drying seashells and cracking tortoises,
Remnants of succinct mutterings collected in storefront ads,
Perverse suits with childhood dreams of melting under a coin.
Don’t forget the peonies or the old dog collars we saved up for,
Painted piggy banks shaped from the chipping clay that rests
Behind the waterlogged pipes that burst through our veins.
Don’t wait for the wind to slow the viridescent ache,
Won’t you tell me, won’t you warn me, won’t you
Show me how to tiptoe past the congested lanes going west.
We stay for the decaying leaves, the goldish glory and all of its
Curious maybes and seductive grasses tickling my bare feet.
Say we can trek past the ghost towns and cross the murky rivers,
Trudge through the winding streets and loud hotels where
Charming highwaymen stir gossip with the bonnet ladies,
Where a labor laden road appears over the burning mountains
Somewhere beyond this place with goldish ruin on paradise’s ledge.
An entrance, an exit, or neither—somewhere to go.
We must turn back before the day slips into night.
Claire Ahn is from Southern California. Her work has appeared in *82 Review, Blue Marble Review, and The Rising Phoenix Review, among others. Her writing has been recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and produced off-Broadway in Writopia Lab’s Worldwide Plays Festival. Find her on social media at @ClarySAhn.