Content Warning: Suicide or Self Harm


Citrus sweetness sliding down skin like sweat,
sticky fingers, smiles dripping,
soda can slam,
squashed on the driveway

When I was smaller, my mom would take me
to bead shops on the corner of nowhere.
She would search the tubs for inspiration
while I plunged my hands into cool, shimmering glass—
precious, common stones that rolled over each other,
clinking in a decadent dance in which I fumbled
with uncoordinated fat fists.

Cherry-lipped, summer sheen—
the color of air.
The weight of a small stone sinking into the center of my palm,
each one containing its own sun inside leathery skin—
the peels curling like questions.

I have questions.
Like where do all the missing socks go?
What color were God’s birthday candles this year?
Like when did I realize mom didn’t go to the bead shops anymore?

As I grew taller, I couldn’t help but scrape my knees.
Each cap untapped like a blood orange,
bursting in tiny droplet bubbles—scarlet beads
tumbling across the field into a brown paper bag.

Take the spidery white-veined things,
membraned together in tens and twelves.
Sew myself a new skin that I promise not to cut into this time
—not intentionally.

Take the thin tough rind.
Knit together a pouch to place all my ugly things;
origami cranes folded with envy;
glass marbles filled of anger;
jewelry beads dipped in fear.

I am my mother’s daughter,
tangerine stand on the corner of someday and tomorrow,
intersecting here and never-found.



About the Author
Abigail Pak (she/her) is a recent 2022 college grad with a Bachelors in English from Westmont College. After spending the summer volunteering on a ranch—riding horses, wrestling calves, feeding chickens—in Wyoming, she is back home, writing when she can. She has been published in Phoenix Magazine and The Inkslinger.