July 8-14, 2024: Poetry from Clarissa Leung and Deborah-Zenha Adams

Send us your poetry. Click here for submission guidelines.

Clarissa Leung

Clarissa Leung is a high school student at Episcopal Academy in Newtown Square, PA. Her poem, “Lobster Five Ways,” will be published by Poetry South in December 2024. 

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Clarissa Leung and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

filthy and free

gripping the sink,
i’m a kiss away
from the mirror.
my throat.
twitching tuna sandwich
mystifies the drain.
that’s metal—no
that’s last night’s broccoli.

my body’s heavy,
chaining my eyes
to the reflection.
flaky lips,
inflamed cheeks,
my hair’s a
crayon drawing.
sharply, my stomach
tugs at my eyes
for attention.
the urge to release
widens as steadily
as pumping helium
into a balloon.
only the lint
of the body,
sound and spit,
tumble out.

i am a liar that mumbles
a prayer of forgiveness.
i am a mother robin
throwing up food
for her young.
i am wretched.
i am purified.


bridalveil falls

i say goodbye
to bridalveil falls.
my rubber tires
find concrete roads,
the kind of pavement,
that my neighbor
in the suburbs
would complain
has too many potholes.
but they are smooth
compared to
yosemite’s trails.
with so much darkness,
the leather seat
brings the sturdy
peace that comes
with privilege,
a swell of warmth,
the pilling fabric
of my tent
could not replicate.

i drive into
a sea of red lights,
a sea of anger?
cars line up waiting to
come alive.
Come alive
they warn me.
i start shaking my leg,
biting the skin around my
stubby fingernails,
i’m caught in
the surge of time.
don’t hit the car
in front of you,
my brain presses.
which is the gas?
which is the stop?
jumbled up i honk,
the sea starts
honking too.

Deborah-Zenha Adams

Deborah-Zenha Adams is an award-winning author of novels, short fiction, CNF, and poetry. She served as executive editor of Oconee Spirit Press for ten years, and is currently a reader for Boomerlit. You’re invited to visit her website to read more of her work.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Deborah-Zenha Adams and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

I Have Questions

“Observers ultimately define the structure of physical reality itself.” ~Robert Lanza

If we forget to watch the universe
does it panic? Doubt itself? Or worse—
simply shrug away reality
and disappear? Should infinity
be left for amateurs to dominate?
What if we get bored and abdicate
our role? Don’t you fear it might upset
…………………..the universe if we forget?

And why always place that same blue sphere
at center, then build outward, hanging austere
orbs and frozen moons from loops and strings?
When did our default imaginings
devise a set of enigmatic laws
that allow effect to be first cause?
How did we get here, and who’ll reset
…………………..the universe if we forget?

Author’s note: I’ve modified the Short Roundel to include an extra couplet in each stanza, and a reversal of words in the refrain to mimic the reversal referenced in the penultimate couplet.

First publication: Blue Unicorn (Spring 2023)

Subscribe to our weekly Newsletter: