Crossbow bolt like an arm
in the thicket, wrist facing up
toward the screaming aurora. Alone
in the clearing, a man turned
murder. His step a judgment.
His voice a fissure in the green.
There should be a word
for the slant of a struggle
in the leaves. A word
for the softening of limbs
when the marrow migrates
& the trees are finally standing
still. No king with his sparrow-
crush fist. No king in this
dream sequence. In the woods
a fair-haired boy holds court.
Summertime & his subjects
are starving. A new monarch
scraped from the stomach
of a mountain. Him, too—no good
to eat. He returns to the present
hurt for a reason. Back to daybreak,
back to majesty and his gait
like a war cry. How quiet after
the shot goes off in the forest, when
the body hits the floor. In the right light
fate makes an animal of him.
Rapunzel Writes Back
If the dark has roots, it will hurt me.
If it has my name, I’d best
cut it short. From up high the whole world
is a metaphor for a split second. I suppose
you’re pleased that the time is spilling nowhere
so fast. That my body’s best viewed through a slit
in a pretty girl’s scream—scream built
of stone. Scream wrung and ringing from woman open
-mouthed: strongest when love is starving slowly
to life. Every time you reach through the window
I know better what it is to be flung
into earshot. I carve my smile into a paler dream
of pain, one where the light is the biggest lie
I’ve ever told and I’m by the water touching myself
to pieces. The only weight let down leads to
a cry for a help and a sound like that
is a place where nothing grows. I hope
you’re happy in this dream; that’s how I know
there’s no height for my heart. See my arms crossed
over the door: my breath’s locked for the night.
Look what you’ve made me: something so unsure
of its own sharpness that it falls straight through
its mother’s hands.
Christina Im is a Korean-American writer and high school student from Portland, Oregon. Her fiction and poetry have appeared or are forthcoming in YARN, Strange Horizons, Fissure Magazine, and The Adroit Journal, among others. In addition, her work has been recognized by Hollins University, the Adroit Prize for Poetry, and the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers.