Christina Lee

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Brasília



 

Shortcut

 
Back on the marked path,
with the solid guardrails
and stone-lined steps,
you can see the twenty
switchbacks you avoided
to scale this snowbank.
 
The whole time you braced
for the flash, the crack,
the fall to the rocks beneath.
The gory snow angel
your body would leave.
 
The whole time cursing
the shock of emptiness
the snow sent
up into your teeth.
The chill it set in you.
 
Not worth the shortcut,
this cold dread that won’t
stop thrumming,
this shiver like a harp string
roughly plucked,
this echo of some old thing,
some dark hum
 
 
 
 



 

Brasília

by the Tijuana Brass

 
Laugh all you want,
there was once
no purer happiness:
the soft click of the record player,
my parents in love, or at least
miming it for me
 
as I whirled beneath them
to the tinkling beat,
small feet pounding,
smile wide
enough to swallow
each smooth-cut note
so it could shimmy down
clean through me
like a cherry jello square
slurped whole.
 
The trumpet comes in. And the breeze
of the marimba. Then the key change, like a sigh
after a long laugh, and a ragged breath in again:
up higher, higher.
And the end, the slow fade, so we’d know
the song didn’t stop it just
passed by us
 
 
 
 


CHRISTINA LEE has published work in Tin House’s “Broadside Thirty,” Stirring, The Seattle Times, cream city review, Hoot Review, Apeiron Review, and elsewhere. She’s also a WITS teacher in Seattle, where she lives with her husband. Her books are organized by color.


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