in the city under the city the girls / have no teeth. they cover their eyes / and pray to the sun. in eight minutes / this will all be just another variation / on blindness. in eight minutes  / watch for their faces / in the water. in that mockery / of sky over war-torn plain.

what’s a siren / with no body? a name. with / no name? negative space. salt-sick serenade / in dead man’s throat. as if / hearts this dark / know what beauty is.

it starts / with hand over pretty girl’s mouth. it ends when it is no longer / bullets she is dreaming of. needless to say there will be / no innocents. needless to say / it will not end.

define / touch. something only monsters / want.define love. something / that kills them.

no one told these girls / you can’t fire a shotgun underwater. not / without a mark. not without / something struggling in the closeness / they call your ribs. they pull their triggers / in the name of a flare-faced / god. yellow light shifts / when it hits the sea.

are / the legends true? define true. is / the city real? only if man / lets it pull him under.

little by little / they are devolving. they take this / to mean makeshift fangs. to mean / metal bite in the blood. wet flesh / is that much easier to ruin. it takes the surface / to learn to forgive. instead / the girls rearrange themselves / sharply into daybreak. not a care / for where it cuts. they tell each other / to whisper names like the gleam / of weapons. stay still / just like that: asunder.

By Christina Im


Christina Im is fifteen years old and attends high school in Portland, Oregon. Her fiction and poetry have appeared or are forthcoming in Rose Red Review, Words Dance, Strange Horizons, and The Adroit Journal, among others. In addition, her work has been recognized by Hollins University and the National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.

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