Two Neat Halves

soo yeon chun

She was 15 when she learned the comfort
of rituals. Plastic bags full of groceries
swaying from her ghostly arms.
Her black dress breathing with the wind.
She steps on a dead fly and examines
its remains, crushed wings still fluttering.

At home, she straps an apron around her waist
too tight. Groceries spilling from the bags,
strewn on the counter like abandoned toys.
She slices the meat into two neat halves—
the familiar sink of a knife, then it’s all automatic,
rhythmic almost.

Tired of begging, she wonders
why a heart feels like flesh sometimes.
She throws one half on the pan, an offering
for temporary oblivion. As the meat darkens,
she stuffs the other half into the plastic bag
and wonders about violation—
why it preys on the ordinary.

She turns on the tap.
Blood-water pools in her cupped hands,
lime wine. Stinging her tongue, and her eyes.
For a fleeting second, she lets herself soften,
fill to the brim. An unrecognizable face
floats on the surface, its blurred outlines a relief.

Her hands part slightly.
The water rushes out through the gap,
leaving tenderness behind. She rubs her hands
vigorously on her apron until they’re numb, remembering
what a human body is capable of.

Soo Yeon Chun is currently a rising junior at Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts. Besides writing into the midnight hours, she enjoys listening to music and practicing drums. Previously, her works have been recognized by Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, Jack London Writing Contest, Sheila-Na-Gig, and other online publications. She is currently building a creative writing portfolio for university enrollment in America.