Lonely Spiders / Motor Vessel Sewol

Lonely Spiders

Mother and I stare at the flashing TV screen at night,

watch the metal stripes woven immaculately shifting between its bright colors,

while our eyes drop,

until the thin claws of the saturated light lifts our lid.


Her breath is loud next to me.

The erratic and stretched out gasps for air,

as if she had forgotten to breathe,

only reminded by the static buzz of the television.

She can no longer hear the inanimate dialogues flowing with the hundred lips,

or see my darting eyes

through the corner of her own.

Her remaining strands of black hair stitch up her hollowed face

clinging on to the froth on her grey lips,

weaving frail cobwebs on a gravestone,

a throne for a hazy spirit yet to leave.

We sit there,

mother and me.

On the wallowing cushions,

Its soft freckles barely holding our liquid legs in place,

until the wet rays of the sun

dampen our cheeks.

Motor Vessel Sewol

I’ve been told to talk to you:

Have you ever seen the moist glow of dusk?

How it smudges as it clambers up the sliver of your cheekbone,

filling the whites of your skin—


If we die

would it be like wonderland, so maddeningly crazy,

so non-sophisticatedly pure—

where the light that blinded us was not white

but a porcelain ghost, hazy against the limelight—

filled with water, belly up

Mother is staring at dusk right now.

She is alone,

with the hundreds of silent parents,

violent flashes of light,

the cackling of the camera.

She doesn’t feel my moist hands trail up her chin,

up to the wings of her eyes

tracing the buttery suns—

of my bloated body

keeping me afloat.

I’d like to tell mother you are hauntingly beatific—

the infinite equilibrium—

you are what is left of the golden spitfire,

when the timid rain puts its damp hand over

a tree struck by lightning—

and the wretched fire finally goes out;

only a shadow hanging on to the sea,

on jeju island

Juheon (Julie) Rhee is a fourteen-year-old student and is currently attending International School Manila. During her free time, she enjoys reading Agatha Christie’s mysteries and hanging out with her friends. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in K’in Literary Journal, Indolent Books, Heritage Review, 580 Split, deLuge Literary and Arts Journal, Cleaver Magazine, and has been recognized by Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.