Youngseo Lee

streaks of blue paint juiced from teenage livers
(love must come from the liver, that’s where the poison collects)

            my body screams i will never grow up i am
            simply too small, too kid-sized, too sippy-cup :
            with the paint squeezed from you and i we could
            color me seven coats over and still have a bucket left
            and i don’t know what the fuck to do with it

– smudge as i declare: i will vomit a blanket woven from
love and disgust, mix of mucus and ovary and pretty
girls whose niceness angered me, will drape it
over the sun and with me we all shall freeze.

i must wonder: where you and i will surrender
to explosion of poison we cannot process –
                  allergic reaction to the indestructible, cheeks
                  flushed like love, like choking on gooey saliva
                  from raw yolk already running into my lungs
– where fingers lodge in throats and feet anchor under knees;
bodies, indiscernible, resist dysfunction, in a car that is not mine
with the hood bleeding dead cat howls and engine oil or in the back
of a lecture hall, petrified in a horrendous rewind of anatomy lessons,
eternal, tangled, whispers ringing around us: love must come from
the liver, that’s where the poison collects, teenage love must come
from the liver, that’s where the poison collects,

Love Turns My Thumb Green

mother believe me
                  he kisses my brain.
                  we grow hermann hesse on the front porch mingled
                  with the orchids and simone de beauvoir and poison ivy
                  and in the fall we will plant ourselves too.


                  he combs through my vocal cords.
                  i paint twigs on my thighs and gypsophila on his back. he plants
                  his feet in the garden and i, hydrangea in my womb. come
                  winter, i will birth a happy bouquet with sad petals.


                  he hugs the blood vessel leaving my heart.
                  he cups the souls of dandelions with palms that i place
                  on my eye to feel the thudding of his life. these are the hands
                  with which he plants our lives side by side beside the aspen.

that: his palm: my eye: my soul: his heart: the garden: crops of thought:
                  i know for every second with my whole wobbly existence that
that: is enough: we plant plants: we plant lives: mine next to his:
                  he exists and i breathe and that is enough.

Youngseo Lee is eighteen, taking a gap year, and just vibing. She is newly based in Virginia, though she is from Seoul and Arizona. A 2020 National YoungArts Finalist in Creative Nonfiction and cat lady with no cats of her own, she is the founding editor-in-chief of Pollux Journal, a literary magazine dedicated to multilinguality. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Entropy, Emory Lullwater Review, Peach Magazine, and more than you can find on youngseolee.carrd.co.