by the fourth time i climb what some of you call a jungle gym, and the rest, a rope structure, i expect to know exactly where the bus depot should be. the lights are loud but distant at night, though, and the buses' white tops meld into some lump that i can't recognize until i spot the buried yellow masses. isn't it utterly unromantic that here, as close to stargazing as we get, we should only find unidentifiable glitters against a mountain whose existence after sunset we can only infer from the blinks steering planes away? there is something poetic in the ugly way about the ordinary underwhelmingness of chandler, arizona and my recent choosing of a favorite park, something beautiful that i must salvage on behalf of us. perhaps it is how every second your weight shifts and tugs along the threads holding us up, my body must adjust again to your memories and to the shape of your foot. you are funniest when i don't recognize you, and with each rediscovery i wonder how i am supposed to love you more when i thought i had already found every roundness on your face. or how i am supposed to ever love anybody who has not watched me recite my horoscope emails, promising passion in the air, as we twirl fingers around each other's as a pledge of innocence that we are not sure we claim anymore but surely did not disown. there is always something i cannot entirely articulate but i am here. this is me trying to teach myself to pay attention. are you not anxious that even now a memory is tumbling off into the space between us? teach me grounding when we are suspended in space. i'm hoping. i'm hoping everything into you. if i could just pay more attention and remember all of you, i'm sure i can salvage every second we have left in this tiny town together. i pinky promise i love you all. even when i am falling through the hollowed center of this roped universe and forgetting words like unearth, friend, trust. remind me how the closest walgreens and the mountains behind it all blink into a cursor on a map. remind me how i am always so scared of jumping but keep climbing anyway, and i should know you love me.
is eighteen, taking a gap year, and just vibing. She is newly based in Virginia, though she is from Seoul and Arizona. A 2020 National YoungArts Finalist in Creative Nonfiction and cat lady with no cats of her own, she has work that has appeared or is forthcoming in Entropy, Emory Lullwater Review, Peach Mag
and more that you can find on her website (linked).