WRITTEN BY MIRA JIANG
I first kissed Death on a water slide. My sister
met him when she was a heartbeat,
shadowy shape in our memories where a child
might have grown. His specter
hangs over dinner tables set by ghosts, hands ruffling
sheets of hospital beds and plucking souls
like popcorn from scenes awash with red.
I was never afraid of him though,
not when I was young.
I stood outside in pouring rain
with skies flashing white and beasts rumbling
in the clouds, jumped from the tallest trees
to land flat on my back in the wood chips, dodged cars
in neighborhood streets, close
enough to scratch the metal fenders
as the wheels screeched by. I was most alive
when I walked by his side.
He is the only one who will never
leave me, a life-long flirtation,
my final husband: this bane of kings,
the last refuge of scoundrels.
I will meet him when I am tired and worn.
Let him come to me in a star-studded palanquin
and close my eyes to the velvet night.
Mira Jiang is a high school senior from Coppell, Texas. Her work has been published by or is forthcoming in publications such as Flash Fiction Online, Paper Lanterns, and Hobart and recognized by the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest and the Geek Partnership Society. She can often be found reading in trees or dancing in empty studio rooms.