Home By Jessica Lao


& I hollow myself to bone: ecru
chalk cracked on sidewalk,
coyote-picked femur of
deer. A line of telephone wire
stitches pulled apart at the
seams, & I spill, bloodless.

Look up:
This is home

Take a right to your childhood,
finger paintings done in red & green &
the feeling of porcelain against your

Or twirl your way left, to not the past,
the future or the present,
but to the unknown, a summer that hangs
silver in the night like a breath.

Still dissatisfied? Dig deep, then, all
fingertips against membranous
memory, elbows-deep until they

give slick & substantial & tear
through that neighbor’s yard one last time.
This is the homecoming of your memory.

Continue straight. Feathers buried
under red-russet clay, I call you by your

Continue straight. Thread that sky & pull
your guts out, hail spilling down at your

feet. Press on, with a lupine
shadow and hungry-parched gleam, chalk
circles at your toes.

Look up, do you dare?

Continue straight—the coyote
recognizes you with a wag—

I call, & I call & I call—

By Jessica Lao


I’m a senior and Writing Fellow at the Westminster Schools in Atlanta, where I serve as editor of my school’s literary magazine. My work has been published or is forthcoming in The New England Review, Just Poetry National Quarterly, and After the Pause; this piece specifically was recognized by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers.

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