Salamander 2024 Fiction Contest

SUBMIT: May 1 through June 2, 2024 | READING FEE: $15


We decide to get help

Emily Ho
| poetry


when people start
holding hands and looking.

Anything so metal would be
not a heart, they’re thinking,

but we are a heart!,
bumpy and ready for love

says our therapist.
This machine is healthy

we tell ourselves
and it is

better than we could do ourselves.
This machine makes excellent

skies, our therapist says, really melodramatic
and good. It is easy for a sky to look

sad, we say, and try not to
feel guilty.  Not so easy

for me, thinks the sky,
turning pink and rubbed looking.

Our children ask why our cheeks
are so rubbed

when we pick them up
and breathe on them

and the moment is so touching everyone
wants to clap, but we just don’t

know how to mean anything
good.  How to mean anything.

Emily Ho graduated with her MFA from Brigham Young University, and now teaches at a small university on the east shore of Oahu. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in MiPoesias, jubilat, Pleiades, CutBank, Anti-, Booth, and elsewhere. She is also the recipient of an Academy of American Poetry prize and a Hart-Larsen Poetry Prize.