With love


Royce Hall

Where brick-infused libraries permeate with a sense

of feeling good for the man. A bubbling

sense of manufactured cut copies—steel molds of should’s.

Like honey and dates, the uncanny valley of softness—

a strange revulsion for the not quite there.

The windows are punched through and open.

Where running barefoot with broken glass

is normalcy and everything sharp is unwrapped

and bubble wrap isn’t enough to keep white porcelain intact.

I swear the chrysanthemums flinched at

these handfuls of fist, handfuls of bruised apples.

Ain’t no drag, papa’s waving a white flag.

A mother’s clenched inhale at the fatalistic idea of leaving,

like a swimming pool game of trying to be the last one to breathe.

Every exit is a prelude to an entrance.

Maybe I had a full house, maybe I had the upper hand,

maybe I was holding all four aces,

but what was the game?

Elizabeth Hsieh