Departure By Jessica Xu


My sister draws maps within the mud, traces her
highways with sticks and sweat, roads like vessels,
all carved within the Earth. She recreates herself as a
landmark, a capital star. Morning dew catches on
the tips of her hair, her eyes like darkened orbs.

It is June now. The months have passed without
a salve and her hair is still curling, withering to the
ground. The hospital needles were never enough
and I am still collecting the fallen blond, saving them for
future’s memory. I have not loved her enough. Her
years have passed through her in days, hollowed
her bones, and drawn her closer to the opening of Earth.

In this moment, I am reimagining her as starkly beautiful,
without the frailness of her arms, without the trembling of
her lips. The sun rests its slow palms against the thinness
of her skin and she is still unwavering in her fate.
When the wind bids her to the place where I cannot follow,
I will mark the Earth as the surface of her, as a landmark,
strong and unbowing.

By Jessica Xu


Jessica Xu is 15 years old, and her work can be found in The Apprentice Writer, Eunoia Review, and is upcoming in the Glass Kite Anthology. She has been recognized in the Scholastic Arts and Writing awards, TeenSequins, the William Faulkner Writing Contest, and more.

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