it’s august again & the world unfurls inside the television screen, look: record high temperatures, drought, death. don’t remind me how grandpa died within july’s stale breath. i do not forgive. grandma passes the gourd of water across the congregation of parched throats. this is the last cup & the minutes crawl into the bodies of hours. the supermarket across the street runs out of ice cream & kids throw tantrums across the cracked asphalt, abandoning their youth with such nonchalance. tell me how there used to be a creek here. now there is nothing but fossilized departures & the reflection of the scorching sun.
here, i am landlocked in grandma’s backyard, mouthing an incantation at the apricot tree to hand a blessing. please, is it going to rain. but the half-bitten leaves wither in the stifling humidity, as if to mock, this is not your place. grandma teaches me how to catch dragonflies, wait. she clasps their wings with faded thumbprints that run like tributaries across her sallow skin. we are dragonflies, hostages to the heat. i am afraid & the sun claws at my flesh, dried rivermarks streaming across my cheeks. so this is affection. knees scarred from wildfires gone awry like this was never planned.
dusk & i watch the moths navigate for the bleeding moonlight,. crickets strumming their guitars, sprawled across the desertland. the deboned constellations hang crooked, bleached white from the dry spell. grandma tells me they are my ancestors & i chisel their lineage across the skymap. the weather forecast maps itself onto the stars, extreme weather imminent. even the night cannot fool the sun, relentless. in someplace far off, the yolk of the sun cracks onto the horizon, heat waves gushing in the thirsty ocean. washed-up bodies reek of hyperthermia & i forget
how i am still alive. how the sun surrenders nothing to the wreckage
Jessica Kim (she/her) is a teen writer from California. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Eunoia Review, Clover & White, Sienna Solstice Magazine, and The Rising Phoenix Review amongst others. She loves long plane rides & large servings of poetry.