Exported Landfill

I’ve begun to see the dust on the floor – 

in braids, roping underneath the bed and nightstand, 

rooting in my wooden planks. Begun to see

 

this head of hair, graying and matted,

my living littering the country

like a slow sloughing, a peeling death,

 

my emptying my urn on concrete

and waiting rooms,

my outstripping my best.

 

It’s a one-woman show –

the way I unzip

and crawl out of myself anew.

 

This is progress, our need to outgrow ourselves 

day by day, 

the fresh skin, metallic. Meanwhile:

 

yesterday’s manias

shipwreck on the coast of my birth.

The children I could have been

 

pick at the deep back of a TV 

for gold, their waters swimming 

with mercury, the cancer 

 

I should have had

breaking another family brittle.

I am not there, but here with the corpse I shed:

 

a map with no X, a trail charting the restless felon.

The old self, disowned, 

is waste. If my lifetime

 

a wasteland makes, then show me

to degrade – Should I burn? –

Or perhaps,

 

teach me to diminish.

Teach me to live

without wreckage.

Meimei Xu is a senior at the Westminster Schools in Atlanta, GA. She is a recipient of two National Gold Medals for journalism from the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers and a Gold Key recipient for poetry and memoir. Her writing has been recognized by the Library of Congress and the NCTE Superior Writing Achievement Award, and her work has been published in Typishly. She currently works as a content writer for The Adroit Journal.

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