Here, the world inverts itself and I wait for no car
to pass by, afraid and unafraid. A man stops
in the middle of a traffic junction and the lights turn red
but he does not run. This is still life. It starts to rain
and for a moment I imagine a foldable umbrella in
my bag, gone as I watch the ground split open, only it’s
the sky. Tell me about the new rules here: how I can
only think in backwards, how tears fall upside down,
reaching for the rooftops, how divinity lies in the bottom.
Pray to the calcified fossils in the basement, ask for
an ending instead of a beginning. When I arrive home
there is no one but the windows shatter upwards
and the attic floods first. I wonder if I am different
too: do I still have a mother, do I still write poetry
for a living, am I still in love with the moon? The trees
in the front yard grow into roots and a family enters
the closed bakery across the street. I want to belong
here. I beat prayers into the front door and I find out
that my mother died in April. There is no spring here
and I bloom last. It is harder to shrink than to grow.
There are spaces that are not meant to be filled, shadows
that swell up when they are closer to the light source.
I am opaque and transparent in the starlight, afraid
of departure. Still, I pretend not to exist as if the night
would notice. But see, the world sleeps with its eyes
open, only closing when I ask for morning to return.
Jessica Kim is a writer based in California. Her works appear or are forthcoming in Cosmonauts Avenue, Longleaf Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, and more. She is the Editor-in-Chief of The Lumiere Review. She loves all things historical and sour, and can be found @jessiicable on twitter and Instagram.