Manic Pixie Dreams

Kyo Lee

Blue hair & ocean laughter
             following seconds behind us.
Here is the setting: us on your motorcycle
            flashing neon briefly in the night.
Fast enough the past can’t catch up to us.
           Behind you my fingers curl
around your pulsing ribs & i bury
          my nose in the crook of your collarbone
lick the shivers off your wind rusted body.
          i keep wanting more of you
until there is nothing left.
          Exhibit A:
When we drive past red-brick yellow-door houses
          that we’ll never have
i still imagine you
          painting the window panels
& me, watering the geraniums.
          Not that i want this.
This is how i can best explain it:
          we were each other’s
manic pixie dream girls.
          i sharpen my teeth on your Adam’s apple
& map your spine
         on paraphernalia. Now does it make sense
why i needed you
          to be more? You speed up
until the houses blur into the twilight landscape.
         You told me you wanted to kill yourself
& i asked how.
          How come i’m always losing
what i didn’t have in the first place?
         We end up at the sea’s mouth
claw through a half-cooked lobster
         drowning its cracks with our tongue.
Nails smirched in orange death.
         This is the type of hunger
unconcealable with adulthood.
        The kind of hunger to leave you emptier.
The kind to lead to bodies
         combusting in the red sand
until the Earth sticks to us
         like greased sugar. How many hands
had now touched our bodies? Soon
         all the sand will crumble off
like dead skin cells:
          a past we had no use for.
Time: coming coming coming.
         The word ocean comes
from an understanding that it’s a small pool
         surrounded by land.
i feel bigger than the Earth can carry:
          normal side effect of teenagehood?
i am always hungrier:
         normal side effect of humanhood?
Say yes.
         Say it with your own sweet mouth
& tell me it’s okay to want you.
         i would drown for you.
i would drown you if you asked.
        i am offering you something
more pragmatic than love.
Take it or leave it.

Kyo Lee is a high school student, writer, and dreamer who is 16 years old and resides in Ontario, Canada. She is the youngest winner of the CBC Poetry Prize and a finalist for the 2023 RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers. Her literature has also been recognized by PRISM International, Nimrod International, the University of Toronto, Ringling College, the New York Times, and more. Her debut poetry collection will be published by Arsenal Pulp Press in 2025. She loves rainy evenings, annotated novels, and sunsets. She is always trying to love more.

"Night street in Tel Aviv" by kryshen is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

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A magazine for teen writers—by teen writers. Under the Madness brings together student editors from across New Hampshire under the mentorship of the state poet laureate to focus on the experiences of teens from around the world. Whether you live in Berlin, NH, or Berlin, Germany—whether you wake up every day in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North or South America—we’re interested in reading you!