silhouette of a bird against winter stars
By: Kay Lee
(“Tonight you’re thinking of cities under crowns of snow,
and I stare at you like I’m looking through a window
- Richard Siken, Crush)
tonight, you’re thinking of cities under crowns of snow, inhaling the cry of the frigid north
wind and exhaling frost onto shadowed panes.
tonight, i’m looking up at the drooping sky
tracing winter stars, pretending that
the sky is not forming canis major and minor into two
eyes with which to stare down at me, silent
as the snowfall that layers without thought.
tonight, i look up and count
the birds, flying between the sharp angles
of the sky, with
noses made of skeleton, wings as wide as glass,
nonexistent lips, pulled into a teethy grin.
one, two, three
birds streak in blurry black
across a hanging sky.
a magic number, you would say,
looking back at me highlighted by the growing depths
of the sky, skin bleak and desperate.
a train passes, bells ringing something eerie
under the silence of the stars, windows blinking
searingly bright in the nighttime, and your cheeks are pale,
so pale against your eyes,
large and unblinking in the midnight.
the train fades, into the darkness, leaving behind only
the sky, falling to the earth, and the nothing that marks
this location, waiting by the station for the trains
that never stop.
“where do you want to go?” you
ask me, smile wide and full of
i cannot answer.
i do not know anywhere else.
you laugh, throwing your head back into the sky, dripping
black onto our shoulders, into the terrible face that
the stars make as it leers down
you’re thinking of snow.
you’re thinking of the next train.
you’re thinking of how there is no afterlife, for us.
i’m thinking of birds.
thinking of counting drowning stars.
of how you look like a monster, as you laugh into
the abyss, teeth straight and fingers rounded as if
you’d killed a man and skinned him alive-
worn his body over your own to hide
whatever hideous thing you really are.
a man, who had stood here before me, under
this laughing night and before a laughing man,
waiting and waiting for something that would never come.
(i count one, two, three emotions in your eyes-
none of which could build that smile stretching
across your cheeks.)
(maybe this is my punishment.
for what, i don't know.
all i know is this station, the trains that pass by
into the oblivion, and
Writer's Statement: Kay Lee is a tenth-grader attending Korea International School in Seoul, South Korea. She is currently putting together her writing portfolio and was recently accepted into Juniper's Young Writers Program.