June Oh: “rigor samsa”

rigor samsa

for the angels.

a mother’s tears were taken in bullets
and fired—

stilled by the bodies that swallow them. even
anger can’t ricochet

this kind of death. there is no cure for
silence or

deafness to mangled outcries, a euphony that begs
to be taken too soon. when

i’m dreaming, there is no happily ever after. they say
don’t be scared and i say i can take the bullets.

take me instead. take a mortal who has already
been blessed, a still-beating heart,

and i have died a thousand times again and then
some more

until all that’s left is liquid gold. unstuck kisses
and broken bones capture

a baby’s first breaths. wombs robbed of
body, instead impregnated with

rusting gauze and arms built by enemy hands. it only
bleeds a little, running cold cold

cold against blackened figures, a congregation of
broken youth.


This is a series of writing to come from the amazing teen writers who were part of CSSSA (California State Summer School for the Arts) 2023. For most, these will be their first publications. 

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