& 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.
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.