sad kid with a pencil callus, velvet bag of pebbles, and blueprints for a grass doll, with faeries in the schoolyard and a burning sandpit where you slunk after recess girl said go away and you silently obeyed, i’m here to tell you that the ruthless streak inside you is as important as the kind one. you can’t survive on softness alone. even so young, you know there are seelie and unseelie faeries, that the seelie ones spring water from the dust of the desert and keep the ghosts of dead teachers company but the unseelie ones yell from passing trucks and mutter ching chong when you sit with the other asians. therefore, stand like the lightning. carry salt and iron on you. a hardback book, rowan bark, and a blessed fishhook. never break eye contact. never break. some enemies you can be proud to make.
Sheila Dong is the author of Moon Crumbs (Bottlecap Press, 2019). Their work has appeared or is forthcoming in Heavy Feather Review, Juke Joint, Gone Lawn, Rogue Agent, and Rust + Moth, among other places. Sheila holds an MFA from Oregon State University and lives in Tucson, AZ. Find out more at sheiladong.carrd.co