Poem by Jeffrey Liao


Lightning Hunger

Haven is a word I only know
through the cherry-crescent of your mouth.
I sift my hands through yours
in the midnight hour while we dream
of a land where girls may sing of other girls
and not mean punishment. I am a
voiceful of unsung apologies;
when you kiss me, sorry lingers on my tongue.
Darling, I know: this love is a fever that will break,
a monsoon at high tide that will swallow us
whole if we let it. Sexuality is a deer with
a minivan; either way, we lose. I want to clasp
your hand in the dawn of daylight, but I imagine
eyes flitting toward us like the barrel of a gun,
every fragmented slur hurled our way one step closer
toward immolation. How to feign safety when your
love is a crime. Impure. Unholy. Or so they say. All I know
is that summer will outrun us like fireflies circling the groping
dark, bruised to a hollow core. When two girls embrace as more
than friends, a storm is aglow: rest your legs across my chest,
and hear the lyrical flutter of our heartbeats.
We can pretend we are clean, in the same way lightning
strikes a tree and mistakes it for an incendiary embrace,
moments before the burning.


Artwork © Sally Deskins


Jeffrey Liao is a student at Livingston High School in Livingston, New Jersey. He enjoys procrastination more than is healthy and is currently daydreaming about writing or eating (probably both).

Sally Deskins is an artist and writer focusing on perspectives of women including her own. She’s been published internationally and exhibited nationally and has curated several exhibitions and books.


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