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Yu, JJ, not crucified: worn away/Post- /Permafrost

YU, JJ

JJ Yu
Age: 17, Grade: 11

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

Category: Poetry

not crucified: worn away/Post- /Permafrost

not crucified: worn away
 
In June, off the coast of Michigan
on a ship concussed by the white-capped waves, I find Chicago
snow. It could’ve been Antarctic — it doesn’t
matter — but it finds itself beneath my chest where the
bone is. A million tiny shards of white glass, a
million sirens, all the same. The crunch of my body on the snow is
white noise and with the wind whipping
with one boiling breath above you I have always waited.
 
 
Post-
 
The ‘87 Mustang grumbled across the flat earth and
skid to a halt beside the sliding door. The brakes
wouldn’t let go of that suede floor, of
the silence. The engine hissed, as if
a dozen or a million cobras might
heave themselves out from under the blue hood
where they had been coiled like the
peach tree in the middle of the road behind my house —
straining, consuming itself, with its fingers raised to the sky.
 
 
Permafrost
 
You dig a hole to nowhere in the tundra,
let it freeze over. As it grows dark, start digging
again. The frost curls upwards like
the turrets of the chapel, which you’ve never been to and is
named for a man who should have died sooner than he did.
I visited once. The door shrieked to protest my arrival;
the still air smelled faintly of hair gel.
The attendant stared silently at me and, knowing
he could read minds, I thought of everything
but the hole in the ground and how I feel when you split the ice.