sick -- poetry by Ziyi Yan
something blackens inside.
maybe it is stomach acid, after blanching my tongue
in bitter chocolate. i am scared something will shatter
if I smack my lips.
mom clings to the landline phone, ripped from the stand.
the screen pulses orange. somewhere across the world there are hands
who worship this same heartbeat–
there are calluses i once touched, eroded into baby skin
because there is no housework to do
i cling to my sister and her limbs are crushable.
this is as good as love gets–
it doesn’t eat organ after organ and punch through the flesh
like that other thing.
my sister squirms and tells me to get off.
my dad transfers more money. says it’s the way of the world,
i hold my own body instead, slip upstairs. i know
the goddamn world.
their voices don’t fade, i just strain harder to hear.
something has been clawed out from inside
and patched badly onto too much paper–
there are these things called words and then there is the burn
of stagnant air against my body.
so i try to picture a face, but only see limbs
splayed like arteries, singed, sewn shut.
i lie on the floor, stare at the hospital white ceiling
because that might be the last thing I see
someone told me you can’t write well about anything
until it’s dead to you.
and i can’t decide if i’ve written this well enough.
Ziyi Yan is a high schooler from Greenwich, Connecticut. In her free time, she loves to sing, dance, and (obviously) write. At any given time, she is probably reading poetry in her room. Her work is published or forthcoming in the Cathartic Youth Literary magazine, The Phoenix, Elementia, and Greenwitch. Her work has also been recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.