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Prayer Just Beginning to Form



Newtown High School, ’16
2016 Adroit Prize for Poetry: Editors’ List

This river floods, spews upturned fish
gasping for breath. We fly them

like stillborn boats, bottled messages,
banished clouds. After the last one

falls, I touch every crater in your mouth,
infected with shadow, desire broke

heaving, blue jury. Your mouth bloodshot,
mine a cannon firing at every

holy thing—save for you &
our lips, thinned into horizon,

each other. Your face translucent
and glowing, my hunger growing bone,

& restless. Where is the empty body,
classified? May the witness take

the stand? The moon renounces dawn,
gaping tooth, blind eye, missing pinball.

Look, here. Your mouth without shadow,
mine whittled into smoke, light.

Ashley Gong hails from Connecticut. Her work has been recognized by the National YoungArts Foundation, the National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and was anthologized in The Best Teen Writing of 2015. She currently serves as Poetry Editor for Persephone’s Daughters, a national literary magazine dedicated to empowering women in places of abuse.