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sycamores only bloom in spring -- poetry by Catherine Hu

do you remember me, sycamore? i was with you 

just three springs ago.

i miss drifting through this world in blind ecstasy.

since then i’ve become what i fear most:

not a tyrant, not a murderer

but a poet.


there’s a hole in my tongue the size of a penny

that i should have filled in long ago.

i feel it against my front teeth every time i spit 

my sour words, bitter lies

confessing like a sinner.


now i stand under you, sycamore tree, i peer up

through shrubbery and ambrosian flowers like a telescope.

dappled sunlight filters through, wraps me 

in forbidden warmth that i have forgotten 

due to years of hypothermia infections.


do you see me, sycamore?

i begin to dig deep into my chest. beside me stands

a theatre of a thousand ghosts only i can see.

they watch me with fastidious eyes,

invisible fingers roaming my skin

they ask me “what have you buried?”

but i cannot reply, i left behind that answer

thousands of miles and a lifetime ago


fingers raking through muscle, sinew and alloy bone

i finally let the seeds of my secrets spill out,

staining the soil with insidious ruby red ink.

i let roots take me as a sacrifice


sycamore, let me in again despite

all of me, all of my actions.

i reach out to you from my state of half life half consciousness.

make no mistake,

i want to be one with the earth.



 

Catherine Hu is a 16-year-old student from Hong Kong. Although she has loved to read and write from a young age, she's only recently built up the courage to put her work out there and graduate from her self-proclaimed title of a Notes app poet. She views the arts and literature as outlets for emotion, and thinks creations are most impactful when they make someone think deeply or feel viscerally uncomfortable. When not stressing about exams, she's also a musician who spends too much time obsessing over Rachmaninoff concertos and not enough practicing the pieces her teacher has assigned her.


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