Adoption Tale by Steven Chung

The fog is trying to forget itself
and I am finding its little threads
in San Francisco. The coldest summer
is a faded one, a naked one. Things
are shattering, then mending themselves
with needles from vacant row houses,
splintered at their frames. Things are
shattering and I want the fog
to be like salt, a silent dissolution
in still water, uncollectible. I remember
the distance as a thin sheet wrapped
around my skin, unraveling with each step.
Between the buildings, a slice of air
I pull into thinner pieces. In them
a reflection: three men escape from jail
in a makeshift boat, the fog an accomplice.
How they survive like guilt,
linger in the woven cityscape, sit for
tomorrow, as if tomorrow can be bought.
And I arrive too late for belonging, nothing
to keep in this city since I am not
a tourist. The sloping streets are kept
by the boy whose shoes follow faithfully,
by the souvenir shop storefronts
and their angled shadows, by the river
of footprints marching
to each address, to the city signs
with names inscribed, as if each person
needs yet another reminder.


Contributor Notes

Steven Chung is a high school student who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. A two-time Puschart Prize nominee, his work appears or is forthcoming in The Financial Times, Rattle, inter|rupture, Potomac Review, and elsewhere.