Poetry: "I Refuse to Go" by Melody Wang

My mind's maze is filled with smoke,

each turn a memory to deep-throat

at dusk, children turn to coy witches

to guide dead dreams up chimneys

before they turn rancid as black oil on brooms

to remind them of the flames that, cackling,

rose above their lost city's rooftops —

an untimely fate still cursing

the air, too charred to be kind

What has my singed soul banished

before I even tasted the name of God?

Saturated by saltwater we poured on ourselves,

we sought to be the ones who prevailed, enlightened.

Alone now, I dash down the hallway of horrors

past trauma passed down from my mother

as the old cuckoo clock chimes out nine

times, reverberating as if to reset my bones:

Do you see the way a dream-tinged memory curls?

The narrow walls are pressed with lavender

and the faded solemn mint, shale-green,

wilts as it waits for my last will

I awaken in this new realm and refuse to go,

my fists tight and dark purple, still clinging

to a bygone era perpetually chased heavenward

I still seek your ancient landmark words, breath

coursing through my pipes as if whistling past

corridors where everything strange is beautiful

Melody Wang currently resides in sunny Southern California with her dear husband. In her free time, she dabbles in piano composition and also enjoys hiking, baking, and playing with her dogs. She is a reader for Sledgehammer Lit and can be found on Twitter @MelodyOfMusings.