gnats in my head

gnats in my head
Ashley Bao

i cut my teeth on my failures, sharpen
each bloody word with a moonlit whetstone
wonder if broken cicada shells should fill my
ribcage, if vibrating grasshopper legs should whisper
in my ear drum.
i should be coughing up apologies to my father’s god.

i shred carbon bones on a spinning wheel’s needle, let
the point rip minuscule tides into the
linen ocean, let the broken ends brush my heavy thighs,
fireflies weave my thoughts together, pull each strand taut,
so i can poke cleanly through.

veins of sugar sap branch in the back of my palm, aphids
swimming through to reach each memory, natural straws
sipping until every gram of glucose is gone
i wonder if they can taste the guilt.

if i forget, it never happened.

Ashley Bao is a Chinese-Canadian-American high school sophomore. She spends her time writing and dreaming, mostly about cats. Her poetry and short fiction is forthcoming in Strange Horizons and Cast of Wonders.