How Lip Balm was Invented by Lauren Zhu

How Lip Balm was Invented

Shards of plastic splinter
in a broken pile underneath
my nightstand. When,
I ask, did plastic
cleave so fragile? These
shards reel like dust in the
corners of my room.

I march along burning asphalt, bare footed
and a pompous church hat
atop my head. My feet dyed
with black ink and
decomposing things.

Tomorrow, my fingers blush glinting piano keys with sweat.

Tomorrow, I wash my body of scabs and grit until my skin and memory are buffed smooth.

Tomorrow, I tongue sweet ointment that smells of old lavender.

I loosen the knot of hair that weighs
my head back. This is the moment
of silence before the dogs begin
to wail and this house
begins to shake. I will ask

my diary if my skin
is enough. She hands me
a pot of lip balm and
tells me to heal.


Lauren Zhu is a rising senior at Shaker High School. She has been recognized by the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards and National Council of Teachers of English; her poetry is forthcoming in Eunoia Review. She reads for Polyphony Lit as an Executive Editor.

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