AUGUST by SARAH M. ZHOU

August presses against me like something thick and heavy,
sweet perfume clinging to air swollen with humidity.
Thunder roiling in clouds like wet wool,
apricots ripening and rotting in a blue bowl
on the kitchen counter.
A shimmering haze, thick enough to taste like
herbs on your tongue,
with bones weighty and bruised like thudding fruit,
and heartbeats a second too late, flickering and skipping
through half-dark nights.

Here I stand in the middle of a month,
passing through spaces misted tired and lonely;
my feet drift over earth not quite real,
and my lungs sweat through clouds of dust.
I think I want to find September, but I don’t know how.
There are only unboxed days in shades of orange and plum,
swimming in memories of laughter and
two hearts flickering in a 2:00 a.m. dark.
There is only August, always August,
pressing against me like something well-meaning but frightening.
It smiles and coaxes a spoon into my mouth
even when I turn my head.


Sarah M. Zhou is a Chinese-American student from the Chicagoland area. Her work has previously been recognized by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards and by Vertigo, her high school’s literary magazine. A lover of surrealism, vaguely melancholic songs, and the small town aesthetic, she finds afternoons as a concept both intriguing and unsettling. Catch her on Instagram at @sarahmzhou.

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