impulse:momentum by Lily Zhou


The Shell by Alex Garant
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impulse:momentum

i. it occurs to you one day, while flipping through the ink-bled
pages of your physics textbook, that the world is bound together
by analogies, spider web threads connecting one dusty corner
to another. red, maybe, like fate. a cause, and then a flurry of effects,
unraveling much too quickly for you to grasp them by their tails.
like how, on that september-brittle night,
you purchased a one-way ticket to new york city,
but only because your mother locked you out of the house, and that was
only because you called her a monster, and you said that
only because it was the truth. or the time you tried to call the police,
except your voice got lost somewhere between your lungs
and your larynx. and that was only because of the purple-red
bruise blossoming on your left cheek, swollen wine stains, ripe
like bloated peaches. how it stung for five seconds too long.

ii. you ride the train alone, station a fluorescent lull, skies swirling
                 with the coming of dawn. the click of tracks. the hum of electricity
in the steam-stained air. one hundred ten miles per hour
                 through this shadow-streaked landscape. you pass
a wheat field in oklahoma, an expanse of corn in illinois.
                 it makes you think of the way san francisco looks
in november: penny-mosaic sidewalks, dappled murals
                 like war paint on the cheekbones of libraries, shop windows
that are more mirror than glass. now, on the tobacco streets
                 of new york city, you think of how you still manage
to find san francisco in the chiaroscuro of passersby:
                 trick of the light, a haunting, a past revived.





Lily Zhou

My name is Lily Zhou, and I am a high school sophomore from the San Francisco Bay Area. My writing has been recognized by Scholastic Art & Writing, has appeared in Phosphene Literary Journal and Textploit, and is forthcoming in Glass Kite Anthology. When not writing, I can be found drinking bubble milk tea, solving a sudoku puzzle, or playing the flute.