Melissa Ho

Home Delivery

Autumn, and the folds in my elbows
swim toward the surface. Last year,

I licked clean a peppermint taffy,
the salt rising like a plastic bag in

another ocean’s parking lot. The women
grinned wide, let duri seeds nestle between

bright white teeth. They poured bleach
into rain, watched the acid strike the

straw of our roofs. They said, think of
the husbands. I sealed my eyes, painted

the men who told us to imagine the west,
the men who searched a village girl’s

bed and found a stillborn. Here we still
drink the pajri like we do the kernels,

like we are made of birthmarks and pulled
tea and the bones of September fish. I want

to understand the water, the sound of mixing
together, the sliver of oxygen building beneath

the surface. Here, we spill syllables of island
tongue until they run into the edges, until we

are teaching ourselves the calluses of glass
and empty shoulders, our hands pressed into

the floor, begging: tell me how to build a room,
what saves a house, if we are still human.


Melissa Ho is a seventeen-year-old from Ellicott City, Maryland. Her work has been recognized by The National YoungArts Foundation, The Poetry Society of the United Kingdom, The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, and more. She has appeared or is forthcoming in [PANK], Word Riot, decomP, and elsewhere.