EMERGING ARTISTS & WRITERS: NAOMI YUNG & KATHERINE LIU
In me, a flood:
And this, too, a caution
of events already in motion,
an exhalation of the essence
keeping me afloat. The honey-
stuck way I am attempting to excavate
these habits (their inevitable cycle)
fossilized as they are in amber,
these geomorphic layers of past trials
and tribulations spreading like so many
keloid scars. Lament the shifting plates
beneath our feet. With one finger, trace
the coffee-stained veins to the forgotten
ore, that time-hardened vulnerability
aching beneath ash and dust and earth.
Stories left stinging in the minerals, the way
volcanoes live and die and live again:
Phoenixes. This paper trail goes on for miles.
APOLOGY TO MOTION
Tracks rattle under our heels.
We straddle the side seats, cities
balanced beneath us. I'll never
get used to smog, tongue swollen
around burnt teeth. Someone
calls my name and I still think
of uncoupled countryside, rippling
pelt of grain. I still spend hours
forgetting the tang of metal, miles
buried in the bones of me. How
many times I have rolled my tongue
around a squeal of orange, winced
at the sweetness as if all homes
were meant to be spurned, as if all steel
were unforgiving. How many times
have I pulled myself apart
for a name? This language still
bites my tongue, swollen
and blue in its holster. Behind me,
the curved spine of a highway.
Tonight, the sky shot with stars.
Two flowerstalks crossed over paint-dirt road
Baby stabbing beetle with stick
Woman bow-legged down the lane
Or cutting her nape of hair
The town smells like horse shit
Western man who enunciates like horse shit
Technicolor fruit rolling across sheets
Lotus flower feet
Morning jam good and red
Chickens inside the slaughterhouse
Rising UCLA freshman Naomi Yung is an alumna of California State Summer School for the Arts (CSSSA), an editorial intern at a literary magazine, and the news editor of her high school's newspaper. She is an avid fan of eating, dreaming, and the oxford comma. Naomi's pieces appear in The Yearbook Office, Quail Bell Magazine, and elsewhere.
Katherine Liu attends Stevenson High School in Illinois. Her work appears in BOAAT and Red Paint Hill, and has been nominated for the Best of the Net Anthology.