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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.

christina im


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.

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