Eight o’clock feels like a revolution won
leaving Seven Thirty on the ground like a ragged stuffed bear
grubby fingers grasp at a hazy moon; looks like butter, smells like wax
if only I was tall enough to pull it down by its cheeks.
Nine o’clock is dangerous territory, my father warns
but I wield excitement like a storybook sword.
I haven’t yet heard of girls who hunt dragons;
perhaps monsters are afraid of red lips and sharp nails.
I heed my father’s cautions at Ten
the stars smile sharper; their light sears my skin
I am tall enough to brush against the moon
careful not to dip too deep into his craters; they suck my fingertips
into cold shadows and horrifying emptiness.
Fear is waiting when I climb beneath my sheets
(as if they will protect me from the darkness crowding at my window)
I forget sleep, discarded like Seven Thirty in a happier house
I float in frozen space
with monsters who devour dragons and girls alike.
I climb into Eight for the smell of my blue blanket
for nothing tethers me to the ground but fleeting memories;
consciousness is a curse
and I miss my dreams.
Alicia Hsu is a Taiwanese-American junior at G.W. Hewlett High School on Long Island, New York. Her poetry is published and/or forthcoming in Euonia Review, Skipping Stones Magazine, Vintage (her school’s creative writing journal), and more. When she isn’t dreaming up new stories or escaping in a fantasy novel, you can find her watching nostalgic movies and taking walks with her two dogs.