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Yu, JJ, flats/cleaner/the walk


Age: 17, Grade: 11

School Name: Dalton School, New York, NY
Educator: Samantha Gault

Category: Poetry

flats/cleaner/the walk

so much depends
on a train shaken
angry, screech as
copper sand rubbed
raw by the tide, stumbling
under the sun like a
white rose bloomed blue.
i’ve heard about the salt-
flats, in utah or wherever,
and how they stretch out
and how they never end, and
how they burn your kneecaps,
and how they keep you
awake, awake like
how everyone on this
goddamn train has fallen

He asked the moon to light
him on fire; instead, it tugged
emptily on pearly sand like
she had pulled on her hair.
The night stuttered —
he remembered having
his hands on her, and all
I could do was wish the wanting
didn’t break in waves.

the walk

The morning slips in, cold-white,
and sleeps behind my eyes.
Dawn was never so blinding
the long road between our houses.
My heart tightened;
I pressed my ear
to the gravel to see
if your footsteps had made an imprint.
It’s pseudoscience that when a high
pitch hits you, it’s
for the last time. For now I believe it.
The road seen on my side stretched out
as endless vertical wall to nothing, suspended in
cold morning air.