Charred Letter for Fujian -- poetry by William Du
ink strokes on cotton.
I was embarrassed by your feral howls
but also intrigued—
you were the one who looked like me.
the color of a bruise,
taste of metal
running like watercolor
down my thighs.
Our love bled red, like your letters. Mother
threaded them into beaded necklaces, triangles
you carved into my psyche,
colonizing the canvas
of my skin, blacking out the details
of my face: boarding school headshots. Finding me
in the twilight between bedtime and napping,
a statue of myself
with your signature on its neck.
You wrote on my skin,
in black ink,
orchids that wound tightly
around your pastel letters.
Please wait for me, atop the linden trees. In the end,
we did not put an end to war.
We did not stop dropping bombs over the
rain-white spines of men.
Feel my skin, a stitched-together
collage of your wounds. And when you peek
into the windows of my poems, I see your petals swollen and glazed:
written in lipstick
on the mirror of my eyes. To the Japanese,
an unfinished haiku scrawled inside the thigh
of a girl pushed over the Fujian power plant during an air raid.
In your bed, I lie as still as ink: a letter not sent,
a story not told, covered in a façade of skin.
William Du is a high school student at Delbarton School. He finds inspiration and beauty in the motion pictures of everyday life. In his free time, he enjoys fulfilling and dispelling stereotypes and writing satire. He has a fondness for elegies and plays the piano.