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Summer Camp


Sydney Hwang

I remember her in the sweat of August.
She steps from the yellow bus
among a chorus of other feathered heads
into redwood dust, into the sun
which melts slow and pools, like liquid warmth,
onto sleepy lashes, sinking
down to small shoes,
down to cracked earth.

When the counselor speaks,
the spillage of heads turn
like scattered lilies into curious bees
and she listens, like the others,
as the world bubbles up before her
in iridescent pockets
rising, limitless, from that deep forest grove
into the blue-horned sky.

And yet, a wistful hand grips her shoulder;
ghost-like, it dips into the curve of her heart
empty of home, and leaves its weight there
so that the earthly stare of the trees,
those dark, ancient stalks enclosed by dust,
are obscured by a bittersweet haze,
and she grows tender as a bluebell,
bending towards everything inside,
near and dear to her.

When the bus leaves, the children are left
standing like unshelled creatures
before the wild majesty of the woods.
They begin to move, like soft pieces of wonder
towards the forest palm, which in one breath
swallows each head.

Then she, on thin legs, and with the tinkle
of fine hair, sweeps like some small wing
into the damp, a delicate tulip
breaking from its stem and vanishing
into the great unknown—
and I, blown by the memory of her spirit,
circle back to myself, as she fades—
the hand now, too,
on my shoulder.

Sydney Hwang is a third-year undergraduate student at the University of Washington pursuing a degree in Art and English. She loves all things arts and crafts and hopes to continue discovering the many joys of creative writing

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