Heather Road in Nevada
the olive jars are the first to break. your hands
are swelling in the outlets, the dial tone surfacing,
the static rising for air. the boys move like songbirds,
a map of limbs folded into curtain rings. behind them,
you try to remember polaroids, unjustified shoeboxes.
nobody is here to blink. the last boy leaves his coat
on the attic door, a volcanic voice smothered by
tweed, throat laced with his own blonde. you nod
at this house of a body, palms folding over finches,
the light erasing the hot snap of the hook.
teeth cleaner than glass, your old
home on 6th. someone still speaks
of toothpaste, of latex, of salt-smoked
avocado oil. let in the diner signs
because you are the only one who can:
a little more south, and anyone could have
sprouted a spine. someone is sinking
right here, and you are breathing
still, and your skin is only as weightless
as you swear it to be. and yes i know
all three of them are dead, and this
home wasn’t made for burning, and
i don’t want to think about the
mattress until i have to. think about
clay burrowing under your fingernails
until it is a house, until someone wakes up
as a sinkhole, until someone leans back
and nods: i’m not the dead one anymore.
Melissa Ho is a seventeen-year-old from Ellicott City, Maryland. Her work has been recognized by The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, The National YoungArts Foundation, The Poetry Society of the United Kingdom, and others. She has appeared in [PANK], Word Riot, Banango Street, and elsewhere. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.