The 309 Collective

Lucy Yao: “Buried Below Alpine”

Buried Below Alpine

This is how I remind myself to whisper:

Tongue out, forked flicks would be if not dotted with salt snowmen run over
To wait for words to meet mouth meet teeth curved inward to trap effervescence

    1. And when two days ago, I stepped around a man on the curb outside my window smoking. I thought it was my brother at first. He looked younger than a middle schooler, stubble just barely poking through his jawline tight with deference. My brother doesn’t grow stubble (at least not from the  doorway; at least not from what I can see in the flurry of his stubborn insistence he was in fact doing homework), but I think he’s growing older in the way surpassing five senses. Smoking fits him now.
    2. And daydreaming my child’s cherry blossoms, except the flowers are magenta petals that ruffle at the edges, furling unencumbered as if there is no fear in taking the shape of a clenched fist
    3. And evolving childhood. Picture in frame: who’s crosslegged in tanbark, hiding below the play structure, pretending to bake a birthday cake — “the stick is a candle ok?” — she would scream in delight, before burying a fistful of flowers in his hair, kick up the birthday cake, and dotting away. He believes blush lives in her ears.
    4. And to you, I say bring me a steed whose muscles have grown weak and limbs loose with stuffing. For weakness is a trait I prize in hopes their bodies latch to that over my shining heroism. Companionship stretches far away over rolling hills to a temple. Medals are not medals if they only bear the weight of gold
    5. And when I think of summer in the city, you lay there with me on grassy patches sprinkled with buttercups that have trapped fireflies and glow within — I think I have trapped a firefly between our fingers — our hands clasped tight in forgotten memories and knowing we have reinvented nostalgia without a second glance
    6. And I care more about others than they care about me.

How do I whisper?

Because I am days of winter, stuck in a crevice crumbling in avalanche and run over by rock salt. Powder atop nose, fingerprints burnt into fossils in ice. One more whisper. One more face in shadows refracted on mirrors made of ice. There isn’t enough kind air. I don’t have a firefly soul to melt the snow around me this time.


This a series of writings from members of The 309 Collective, a group made up of 11 teen poets, writers, musicians & artists. Follow them on their Instagram: @the309collective

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