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Zhimei Xu

Exported Landfill

I’ve begun to see the dust on the floor –

in braids, roping underneath the bed and nightstand,

rooting in my wooden planks. Begun to see


this head of hair, graying and matted,

my living littering the country

like a slow sloughing, a peeling death –


me, emptying my urn on concrete

and waiting rooms,

outstripping my best.


It’s a one-woman show –

the way I unzip

and crawl out of myself anew.


This is progress, our need to outgrow ourselves,

day by day, the fresh skin, 

metallic, the hard drive, warm as a heart. 


Meanwhile: our wire carotid arteries

shipwreck on the coast of my birth, and

the children I could have been


pick at the deep back of a TV

for gold, circuit boards, the waters burning

with mercury and plastic smoke, the cancer


I should have had

breaking another family brittle.

I am not there, but here with the corpse I’ve shed:


a map with no X, a trail charting the restless felon.

The old self, disowned,

is waste. Should I burn? – Or perhaps,


show me to decompose.

Teach me to live

without wreckage.

Zhimei (Meimei) Xu is a senior at the Westminster Schools in Atlanta, GA. Her writing has been recognized by the National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, the Library of Congress, Torrance Legacy Creative Writing Awards, and the NCTE Superior Writing Achievement Award. Her poetry appears in Typishly and Cathexis Northwest Press. She currently works as a content writer for The Adroit Journal. 

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