Ars Poetica

Esther Sun

           Northern California


light like thin cloth / laundry-lines

           itself from Santa Cruz / to Redding

                      as wildfires skin


our mountains blue // in the kitchen,

           facing-heaven peppers swallow my

                      tongue / as I eat


yesterday’s takeout for dinner //

           piles of red / Szechuan sheaths

                      searching for a body


to wrap around // the sky bleeds

           into the lake bleeds into the hills //

                      ash the great / equalizer //


smoke: a silence / too thick

           to speak through // flames thread

                      blackened / slopes


like veins // bladed dark prises open

           the charred / music box heart

                      of the moon //  tonight


midnight hours / window themselves

           into vagueness on either side

                      of the clock’s every tick /


its every empty construction //

           then the minutes / burn away

                      completely // my hands


like grasslands / hungry for heat //

           time fevers / my fingertips // the night

                      goes up like fabric

ESTHER SUN is a Chinese-American writer from Silicon Valley and rising freshman at Columbia University. A two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, she received a Gold Medal Portfolio Award in the 2021 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and has published poems in Cotton Xenomorph, Pacifica Literary Review, Up the Staircase Quarterly, and elsewhere.