Gone Lawn
a journal of literature
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Gone Lawn 2
Winter, 2010

Featured painting, Inside Concepts, by Tantra Bensko.

Featured Excerpt
New Works

Kate Lu

Open at the Close

I wanted this to be perfect, wanted my words to pour out without sound and without grace, but with an honesty that you would not be able to stand.

I wanted to make this beautiful for you, some absurdist trick of the mind to make you think that I can actually make lyrics out of the cacophony that is my brain, out of the jigsaw puzzles and the unrhymed words and the discordant voices that say No, no, you cannot, you are not here; do not exist.

I swear to you, I am trying.

        but i am talking about imperfections.
All this time I've been trying to tell you that I am an imposter:

                I am no angel, no godsend, no spell waiting to be spoken,
                no chain to be found unbroken. I am lying here with my
                hands open and my head full and my mouth empty, I am
                spilling out words and bleeding ink and trying to tell you,
                trying to explain—

that in the end I am still shattered pieces, shattered mind, still sharp at the edges, trying to piece myself together, trying to find something quiet in all that noise.

I am holding out for the deeper grace.

        and you took me anyway.
You were the one scavenging, peeling back my layers, stretching skin and pulling at muscle and hitting arteries and knocking at bone and digging into marrow, opening my ribcage and telling me to hush, taking the bruised fist that is a poor excuse for a heart and telling it that everything would be okay.

                        One moment I was closed; the next, I was open. I
                        was reaching out for you; I did not understand why.

                (You were getting to the heart of me, and I didn't even know.)

        the devil and god are raging inside me.
Sometimes I am snapping and breaking apart and feeling dams inside me burst and the waves flood my insides until all I can hear is screaming, voices clawing at me and ripping my insides until the blood they draw feels real.

                The things inside my head only want me dead.

I told you this (I was so afraid), I waited for you to say No, no, I cannot, I will not be here
        but you didn't
                                    you said I know
                                                                 and I am beginning to understand what devotion means, I am beginning to understand that sometimes, people do not close their eyes their minds their ears their hearts and walk away; sometimes, you have to hold your breath and jump,

          and i know which side is winning.
My demons cackle, plant their flags in me when I want to dig furrows in my arms to bear their children, swallow their seeds and feel them move through my throat, rip my body into pieces and watch my thin bones splinter
        and you are standing on the other side, trying to push through.

                These are not the days I count.

The days when I am the bend in the grass and the high note of the song, every balmy breath and cast of color, every wire-taut second of anticipation and every free-falling minute of joy—

                those days are infinite: though they are numbered, they contain multitudes;

                                they tell me, Yes, you are here, you can; exist and I believe.

                        That flame. Your hand in mine.

I have been trying to write this for weeks, for months, the words crawling around and fighting to get out in exactly the right order, jostling for the most precise combination;

I have been writing this in my head since that day you looked at me and your eyes asked a question your lips had not yet begun to form and I thought,

I didn't even know how hard I was fighting to find the words that would make this perfect, how impossible it is to say just what I mean
                                                                                              until I got here.

I wrote this for you.

        It is such a small thing.


Kate Lu, a native New Yorker, is currently a student at The George Washington University, where she is also the fiction editor of the G.W. Review. When she's not writing, she enjoys taking epic walks around Washington, DC, and sassing people. Her work has previously appeared in Sillymess and is forthcoming in The Battered Suitcase.