23 January 2012

Wake – Jessica Yu

Wake by Jessica Yu (17)

And so you crept inside my house one day and said that you would stay. I said okay and lay down to sleep upon the floor. My bones sank but a heap of coat hangers and skin that followed close. I closed my eyes and did not wake till morning. And you knelt by my side while I asleep and grasped your mouth at my ear and breathed.

Breathed hard. Breathed right into my mind and spoke.

Then you placed your ear upon my ear and listened hard. But nothing came back and you sat back disappointed for a time.

You breathed out again, breathed till all the air in you had come out and you shrunk like an empty balloon and lay beside me. Then you up and slipped into my ear and stood inside my mind. You looked and saw a barren place, a womb like wilderness. You spoke and spoke and spoke. You carved upon the skin behind my forehead, carved words upon the shell. You wrote: vanity and beauty and cleverness and coldness and nothing more.

You wrote: you have not been, but you will be.

You up and left, the sound awoke me.

I awoke.

Opened both eyes,

like open wound.

Like lungs,

curled up


I knew everything and told everyone. I carried the untruths with me everywhere and I knew what it meant. I laughed garishly, and the rooms laughed back at me. I cried; an animal sound. And the sky cried back at me. I was everything.

The word had been my liberation. I did not need the pictures or the garden. I did not need the people of the town.

I lived that way long time.


Then one day I went to your house. And you stood shyly holding balloons your mother had taped to the ceiling like real helium. And I, amongst the girls who wore faux-fur and velvet, in Sunday dress. We sang and drank and ate and danced and I sank into the cushions and closed my eyes. You cut the cake, a mass of crushed fruit and softly cracked icing. I hoped they would not say a thing as I watched the knife sink in the cake. They say it, kiss the girl. But who is the girl, Bold Lotty asks? Darlie, the Secretary, has nudged me forward, first gently then quite hard pushes. I stumble and smile and do not look at you, you might look away, I have no right, I know.

And everything around me.

We all sink back into the basement. We sing and dance and eat. I sink into the cushions on the floor. And close my eyes like sleep is prayer.


In the dream I up and climbed upon your back.. And you shot off like a rocket ship into the night sky. I touched the sun and it broke and all the light spluttered onto the sky like water. Your eyeballs rattled in their sockets and you said you did not know anymore. I tried to gather the light and return it to its place but it burned and burned holes into my fingers. So I gave up and watched as day became gone inside the night till it was nothing. All that was left when it left was the longing. Longing as rich and unreal as memory.


You come and tell me to go to my home and I nod heavily. My bones ache like I am ready to grow old and die. I am a heap of bones and cloth; you are disgusted with the outcome. You wrap my body around your shoulders and walk till we are home. You lay me on the grass outside. I lie there till the morning.

Wake. The sun is far too light and it is cold and beautiful.