Issue #2: The Marsh Behind the Mall, Eda Tse

The Marsh Behind the Mall

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There are things I no longer want to tell you regarding
the geography of the buildings around my apartment,
your house. There are seven blocks between us; there is a
river between every thought of me dying; there is a cliff
in upstate New York between every thought of you dying.

The last time my father was more than a memory, I saw
his hands reach out through the bars while trains rattled above
my head, breaking and pounding cacophony. Now he’s just a chain
of letters from companies trying to reach him and collect. I am just a
chain swinging from between my mother’s hands to
fight family who exist only in letters and telephone calls in
languages I don’t understand. I don’t know the geographic location of
my father, he could be in LA or HK or London. I don’t want your knife anymore.

I found a bulwark between 27th and 26th street, and it was
a ways off from the 7­11, and now I can no longer drink Slurpees.
You own your half of the neighborhood, and G can bring me
to no man’s land — the wilderness hidden inside a city; I couldn’t see the buildings anymore, could barely see the line of the horizon where
the plants meet the tops of far away oaks or maples or some other
tree I can’t identify, because gravel and concrete make me more a person.

The branches and ants loved me, loved trying to needle their way under my skin.

The salt floated through the air, past the fake bird’s nest towering on top of fake telephone wire poles strung together in the middle of grass that stretched for miles. I closed my eyes when we left the path, because everything (the insects, the plants, the leaves) were coming at me too close, all at once.

There is a difference between club water and tonic water and seltzer. There is a difference between who I am and who she is.
The last time I had alcohol was never, and the last time I said I would

stop writing poems about men and boys was never, and I will
try to stop writing about you. My favorite thing about Winter is how bitter it is, and how cold it is, and how I never notice these things until the Summer comes and tells me “Stay hydrated” and the sun creates lights that only I can see, and make me paranoid, and the humidity makes me want to crawl out of my skin or rip it apart.

I forget if the berries were juniper or some other type, but they looked like blackberries and tasted like breaking rules I never thought
about much anyway, and the road was coated with stones and dust.


Eda Tse is a student and writer from New York City, as well as an aspiring biologist. She has been published or is forthcoming in journals such as Winter Tangerine Review, Polyphony H.S., Teen Ink, and [empath] QUARTERLY. She was awarded first place in the CCNY Poetry Contest, and was the recipient of the Claudia Ann Seaman Award for creative non-fiction. She likes making playlists, tea, and wearing clothes that follow a grey-blue-white color scheme.


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