“Our Yearly Sun Turns Around” by Jessica Zhao

Poetry Pause celebrates the winners of the 2024 Jessamy Stursberg Poetry Prize for young writers! Read “Our Yearly Sun Turns Around” by Jessica Zhao, first place winner of the junior category. Due to its formatting, this poem is only available as an image.

Our Yearly Sun Turns Around

By Jessica Zhao

             Summer comes today, following a downpour
that is cleared off the sidewalk by day-break and a meat pie
             that is scavenged through by lunch-break.
An evil-something emerges from the sky so grandma
             breaks out her jaded beads and beaded jades
and a hundred year old focaccia that steams up the kitchen
             with a culture of dead yeast, fogging up the windows.
The rising smell of burnt hits the ceiling but not high enough
             to hit the devil in the face or the ground running
so it marinates instead, in a seltzer bath of rust and erosion.
             There goes a saying that earth fosters a siblicide in three steps:
                          One, Birth of honeysuckle.
                          Two, Emergence of sprout,
                          Three, Choking of vine on its humidity. 
                          Everything else is just Lather, Rinse, Repeat.
But grandma also tells me another story in good faith:
             That tomorrow, sometime before noon,
a warm rain will attack the neighbour’s orange cat,
             that by then Phaethon would have already driven the sun
off course, a mosquito would have already bitten a crater size hole
             into the rubber tire and I would have
already forgotten about my father, his two snakes lying
             dormant under the porch. By then, not me,
not you, not even your mother before, could have predicted
             that Summer would have ended before the sun,
an almond cracking egg yolk could make its way into
             a final quotidian setting.

Copyright © Jessica Zhao

Jessica Zhao is a grade 9 student. Her poem “Our Yearly Sun Turns Around” won first place in the junior category of the 2024 Jessamy Stursberg Poetry Prize.

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