Petrification Isn’t All That Bad By Taeyeon Han

Petrification Isn’t All That Bad

These days, it is difficult to move:
a body where the bones are indebted
to an apology already choking around itself
is no body at all. Calcified, I lick the cheek of another
and our mouths part in frostbitten rings. My muscles,
atrophied, and my mother pities me. I’m told that
this is a rite of passage; the fingers begin to press out from
inside my body, and I settle into a nest
made of sinewy twine and ossified eyes.

I think that history is occasionally too beautiful to be believed;
it doesn’t include the jilted accent of my people
or the municipal fruit of the victors.
With rewritten myth and bulleting rain, no one
can bear witness to history anyway.
Unfinished sentences fall out of the foreground
and flames gorge on the shadow of hot grease on coals.
Permanence is shifty and the permanent are unlucky.
Gutted words: hollow and exhausted, look out of fossilized eyes.

It is summer so the air runs oily hot.
There are bodies in the streets,
blistered and sun-burst.
I stitch my fingers together, collecting the falling sunlight;
Sunlight drips from my scaly hands and onto the sizzling pavement.
I no longer use my webbed fingers to cup my guts — to hold in hunger;
Hunger is a luxury to have.

Watch the boys at the beach fix their gaze to the horizon,
they are hoping it unravels, for their bodies to fall through the cracks.
They study the waves through the lens of doxology,
their tongues are wet with desire and the sea brine is heavy in the air.
The water laps the waves out of my glazed eyes.

I coil the ocean waves,
clenching and conciliating, it’s nice to have control despite
history crystalizing creases on my forehead.
I am reminded to never smile to swath away
the crow’s feet that kiss my candied eyes.

By Taeyeon Han


Taeyeon Han is a student in California. His writing appears or is forthcoming in The National Poetry Quarterly, Eunoia Review, and American Library of Poetry. He has been nationally recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, the Pulitzer Center, and finger comma toes. Other than creative writing, Taeyeon loves to read historical fiction, sing at karaoke, and find new restaurants.

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