One Poem by Emma Miao

Phantasm with Bones

We open at sunrise. The stage is set under flashing lights. 
                                                               A theatre
                                                                                                where the convict always dies. 
                                   The intercom
                                                    buzzes, spastic:
& you’re lurching within the construct,
                                                                                                flesh bruised 
                                                by the white bars. 

                  Soon, the hourglass will crack.                                                                                 
                                                  Patiently, I teeth this cardboard street. 
On cue, 
                  I explode into one million tremolos. 
                                                                                                                    I burn the walls
                                                                                                  with my fingertips.
                                   I raid the Capitol. 

                                                                                                  The puppets flail on their axes,                    
their strings caught in the machinery. 
                                                                    They jerk, spitting out 
                                    rubber bullets and 
                                                                   paint bullets and 
                                                                                                  real bullets and 
splaying open their wooden mouths.
                                                                             It starts to snow. 
                                                                                                              My eyes burn, because it is ash. 
                  Applause flutters through the darkened room. 
On the stage, 
                                                                the bones are all the same colour. 

                  The crowd calls:               Give us more

Emma Miao is a 16-year-old poet from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. She is a commended Foyle Young Poet of the Year 2019, and her work appears in Atlanta ReviewDiode Poetry JournalCosmonauts AvenueGlass: A Journal of Poetry, and The Emerson Review, among others. She is the winner of the F(r)iction Poetry Contest 2020, and a finalist for the Atlanta Review International Poetry Prize 2020.