Natalie Chyi

piano music sad emotions sitting girl
Photo courtesy of Natalie Chyi

She is teaching me to play the piano, says this is the last thing she has
for me. But I am all left handed, emotional, banging on the sharps and flats.

Still, she gets me.  We are both run on sentences, bitter
highs and baby doll lows.  She knows why I only write when I’m sad.

She knows that I don’t live in the gray, it’s where I go to remember myself.
That I always come back.  She does not stop me, or ask me to change

any of my bad habits, not when I flick the lighter and inhale, not when I bite
my nails, not when I cry for the entire weekend and forget to return her calls,

start taking antidepressants instead, not even when she has to pull me out
of the medication like a drunk from a bar.

She sees the apocalypse in me, slips a pencil in my hand, only stops my railing
against the wood and ivory long enough to make notes:

Here is where he promises you forever.
Here is where he makes you say it first.

Like an Ativan slipped under the tongue, she will not let me go,
and I know she is with me now, hands over mine, breath in ear.

Here is where she never smiles back,
all the times you bit your lower lip.

I am working the foot pedals, all twelve years of musical instruction
come flooding back, like my hands never left

an instrument, my lips crack.
I chalk up time signatures, crazy ones

no partner will ever be able to follow
and Fiona, she is laughing now at the abandon of it all.

We are both laughing with the dizzying graveyard orchestra
love has left us to dance alone in.

Here is where he says return the favor.
Here, where he insists he is right.

Here is the fading ink of his letters, the house
you both built blowing away board by board.

When I know it’s almost done,
and the red fog lifts off my shoulders

and I’m back to an easy waltz,
she leans over, whispers:

Here is where you tell him enough.
Here is where you say apology not accepted.

Here is where you say mine,
beautiful me.

When the music stops, she is gone,
taking the terrible with her.

 

 

 

SaraEveBorn and raised in New Jersey,  SaraEve is a performance poet and epilepsy advocate from Union City. She is currently the editor-in-chief of Wicked Banshee Press (2014) and has competed in the 2013 Women of the World Poetry Slam. She now performs locally, regionally, and nationally and is a regular volunteer at National Poetry Slam events. A member of the Poetry Slam Inc. Advocacy Group, SaraEve has facilitated workshops on Performance Poetry and Invisible Illness on both a local and national level.  Her work can be found in Ghost House Review, Red Paint Hill Quarterly, Free Verse, Words Dance, Transcendence, and Swimming with Elephants’ Light as a Feather anthology.  A Stephen King nerd, she is currently involved in a 100 submissions challenge. To learn more, visit her website.

 

Natalie Chyi is an 18-year-old from Hong Kong who has recently moved to London, where she will be studying law for the next three years. She started photography to capture moments and pretty things/people/light/scenes as she sees them, and that idea is what continues to fuel all of her work. Find more of her work on nataliechyi.com, Facebook, or Tumblr.

After that time my father kidnapped us, all of our custody exchanges
happened in the police station parking lot.

My sister and I were passed back and forth from backseats.
Our parents like school children who couldn’t share their toys.

I don’t think there was a single time my father left before us:
craning his head over his shoulder until we were out of sight.

He was tethered to the parking space under the streetlights,
growing shadows under his car as we drove away.

car sad down uncertain girl
Photo courtesy of Natalie Chyi

That particular Sunday, did he celebrate with a beer
cracking open on an empty playground?

And was California’s weather warmer
than the love of his daughters?

Driving away from my father that night, waiting
for Thursday to bring us back again,

I had no idea
it was the last time.

 

 

 

Amanda KarwelAmanda Karwel graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. She started writing in high school when a good friend who wrote poetry suggested she try it out. While looking for a way to use her degree, she works at a country club serving cocktail weenies to rich people.

 

Natalie Chyi is an 18-year-old from Hong Kong who has recently moved to London, where she will be studying law for the next three years. She started photography to capture moments and pretty things/people/light/scenes as she sees them, and that idea is what continues to fuel all of her work. Find more of her work on nataliechyi.com, Facebook, or Tumblr.

The photographs of our childhood
sit crooked in their frames like baby teeth.

On holidays, or dinner parties, or when the plumber comes
to fix the sink, it’s every guest’s favorite party game: to see

if they can tell the difference. Our matching
bobby socks and floral dresses are always a hit.

friends girls city buildings adventure
Photo courtesy of Natalie Chyi

You looked exactly the same,
they say. Identical. What pretty little girls.

When a contestant guesses wrong
the game is over

and the kitchen becomes
an interrogation room:

Which of you is The Evil One?
If I pinch you, will your sister feel it?

Years ago, when asked
if we liked being twins, we’d glance up at mom

passed her thick, permed bangs for reassurance.
We’d answer in unison: Yes.

It wasn’t until a trip to the dentist in first grade
that I sat sterile and separate from my sister,

forceps holding my mouth open so wide
I couldn’t make a sound, while a man in a white coat,

face hidden beneath a surgical mask,
shoved two gloved hands inside my head.

After clearing his throat, the way a judge
prepares to declare a guilty verdict, he said,

this one is perfect, pointing to my sister,
but this one


has a few holes to fill.

 

 

 

Kayla WheelerKayla Wheeler is a New England-based writer and performer. She is a two-time NorthBEAST Underground Team Slam Champion and represented New Hampshire at the 2013 National Poetry Slam. Her work has appeared in The BohemythDrunk in a Midnight ChoirThe Legendary, and is forthcoming in the anthologies We Will Be Shelter (Write Bloody Publishing) and Again I Wait for This to Pull Apart (FreezeRay Press). Follow her @KaylaSlashHope

 

Natalie Chyi is an 18-year-old from Hong Kong who has recently moved to London, where she will be studying law for the next three years. She started photography to capture moments and pretty things/people/light/scenes as she sees them, and that idea is what continues to fuel all of her work. Find more of her work on nataliechyi.com, Facebook, or Tumblr.