Thursday, 17 January 2019

A Poem by Sarah Lao

Crossing Fields

We left with June still undressing in my mouth
like a wound, ripe as a
summer plum in harvest, exit
sharper than the limit of a switchblade.
School’s out, and there’s nothing
I want more than
      to forget.
Sure we’re driving through the countryside,
your hand stitched to mine, the pedal of the red
Cadillac rasping over the wind.
Look at the fields. You said.
And I
looked. It was nothing special—a
typical prairie ecosystem.
Coyote feeding on jackrabbit feeding
on grass feeding on sun.
Copied straight from Barron’s Biology.
But you shook your head. Look closer.
So maybe
you wanted to point out the clean
pair of sneakers left on the roadside. Give me
the chance to pick up some free knockoffs.
Still we already passed it and—
No. You said. Easing off
the pedal and unlocking the doors.
Touch the ground. What is it made of?
It was dusty, of course and hard to
breathe outside. The sun was out,
but I couldn’t     see anything.
No,
everything was black.
There was a fire. I said. And
the fields burned.
Yes. You said.
But look again. What’s left?
Ash.
And?
A hint of green, scattered in the
dark, the first shoots of grass.

In September, we came home.


Sarah Lao is a sophomore at the Westminster Schools in Atlanta, Georgia. She currently edits for Evolutions Magazine and reads for Polyphony Lit, and her work has been published or is forthcoming in Sooth Swarm Journal, Eunoia Review, and the Inflectionist Review. 

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