Juhean Rhee

Our childhood ended on the day we learned that chocolate bars

had insect legs in them. When we were only children, we wanted to see

where the land ended and the fog began and dispersed, like an eclipse of moths.

We wanted to go driving to watch the mountains disappear behind us.

We wanted to see the sun kiss the air during summer and flirt during spring.

Grandma believed in the sentience of nature, when the storm brewed like

the frogs in her caldron the neighborhood children believed she kept

in her basement. She taught us how to breathe before the peak of the

mountain she could no longer reach, that felt like reaching the

plastic star of a half-decorated Christmas tree. She kissed our lips,

when she lingered between the liminality of life and sleep.

And so we dance, us and our grandmothers, at the brink of innocence.

Tonight, rivers don’t have to lead to oceans and waves can crash upwards.

We can run on air and breathe the earth, take in the soil

the waste, and people, like steam over the water.

We can let go of our bodies and float to the moon,

and pick and the ghosts of stars that haunt our nights.

We begin to fall asleep to wake up.

Juheon Rhee is a writer residing in Manila. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Indolent Books, 580 Split, Lunch Ticket, and Cleaver Magazine among others. She has also received nominations for her work, such as the Best of the Net Nomination.

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