NEW YORK’S UGLY STEP- By Yejin Suh

NEW YORK’S UGLY STEP-

-brother (and I say brother because our rusted
smokestacks and exit routes run jagged, craggy,

crunching past borders) is descended from the
plumpest Channel Island, a fact I gleaned while

flipping Joe’s Peach Tea bottlecaps & buying Taylor Ham
breakfast sandwiches at a highway diner, swaddled up

in aluminum that crinkles in arteries like the notorious
Turnpike who bottlenecks victims in side veins

or the Garden State Parkway’s ten-car pileups. I
understand he’s a little bit neglected, a little homely,

maybe washed-up, like a rugged rebound or those cheap
Newark airport souvenirs I adore but don’t cherish,

but along the browning Hudson (where I’ve hiked
when Ramapo is in snake season) turn up calcified

squirrel skulls and musket balls that once picked off
Redcoats down Fort Lee. I’ve thought before that history

slapped New Jersey into something jaded in its
wintry boardwalks and grid plans: they go

city / suburbia / suburbia—but the cuts of it are still
sweet, like saltwater taffies on my lip.

By Yejin Suh

Biography:

Yejin Suh is an aspiring writer from New Jersey who appears or is forthcoming in Half Mystic, Juke Joint Mag, and Prometheus Dreaming, among others.

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