Nightingale – Ashley Choi
(in memory of Lavinia Andronicus)
how many times have you found yourself
on your knees begging
for what is yours, stolen?
the slick on your legs is but
dried blood stretched out on skin.
your god watched the rest of it
drip back into the earth.
your uncle watched the rest of it and sang.
may your body hug the basin
that catches the sins of men.
may the world in it’s endless apathy
carve you a knife from rock.
may you hunt the ghosts who haunt you.
your mouth may only open to drink,
your legs may only move to walk,
your body may only be for others,
but your hands and the gripped knife
exist for you and you alone.
even one with her tongue ripped out
may sing and set the world on fire.
Ashley Choi is a sixteen-year-old 12th grader attending Stuyvesant High School in New York City. Her hobbies include obsessively reading and writing poetry, performing for her school’s theater company, and attending speech meetings.