August Story

Lily Zhou

It begins with you building that glass house
from the sky down in the coastal town
where I ruined my voice into song. A string

of fish. A pagoda with no windows. A forest
threaded over ocean. Another day spent
wishing away shell casings & broken earth.

Another day spent in dark rooms & stage lights,
playing fiction. This could have been the story
where I discover a better use for the blood

in my mouth. This could still be that story.
Up close, your eyes look so much darker.
August mists around our teeth & the air

clears when we speak. The story begins
with purple forests & punched-out lights.
The old glory. Open theater in the ravine

where I transform into bushfire at the sound
of applause. I know how to play my audience.
I know how you’ve always liked birds, their colors

in laughter. It is August & I’ve run out
of things to say, ways to begin. The storm
I weaned off newspaper headlines.

The storm with my blood on its hands.

Lily Zhou is a high school senior from the SF Bay Area. Her work appears in Best New Poets, Sixth Finch, Waxwing, Adroit, and NightBlock.