Poetry by Juheon Rhee


Twenty two nights ago, I walk to my friends house
her name is Ahrin, and she cradles the pocket watch
her father gave her on her twelfth birthday like a
mother clutching her dead infant as she sprints
towards the police station, petrichor bleeding
into her lips. When she finally screams into the
indifferent rain, the head droops, and woman
the mother stops by the headlights as the cars
skid over the tracks. She tells me that the watch
is a momento and smiles like a devil as she recalls
asks me, if the best stories are the cruelest, while
lightly outlining my fingers and skeletal structure
too much like a forbidden lover. Eighteen nights
ago, we are back on the lower side of the street
where rainwater pools underneath the flashing
signs: “당구 (dang-gu)” while blue candy canes
swirl on a cylindrical stick dying the water blue
and white. Ahrin loves the rain, the drowning
drips of the rain, that gets rid of all the white
noises that mutilate our ears and picks on
our scars. She spits on the sidewalk and a
nail runs through my arm, carving red roses.
Ten nights ago, they are still there, surrounded
by brown patches of skin. Five nights ago we
visit the infant’s ashes on display and cry like
professional mourner, tears and all. A finger
paints hearts on my neck. Outside, warm hands
smother a small kitten. The meowing is unheard
in the rain. The drip. The drop. The splatter. The
car that submerges in the pool on the lower
side of the street and skids away, headlights
red. Like roses on my neck. Today they are
black and blue, and scabs runs down my torso
are withered flowers, flashing yelling give
me more attention I-- under the sunny sky.

Clouds surge, like moths under the nightlight,
and the rain begins, resuscitates the petals on
my neck and mutes Ahrin’s slithering voice.


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