this is a cold place


By Sung Yim

orderlies tape a trash bag to the frame
of a busted window
watching carefully for runners.

i sit at a scratched up table nearby
writing some bullshit story
ripped off of Mrs. Dalloway.
gulps of October lazily quell my dread.
i am no Virginia Woolf.

a woman with dreads
wrapped in a gauze beehive
circles the room. swathed in hospital linens
she raises her arms hallelujah
scalp stitched up
after digging for brain with razors.

she paces in tighter circles
abolishing spirits
as i scrawl busily. she shouts
that the wrath of Christ will cleanse us
staring through the busted window
the billowing trash bag.

after group, i tell my schizophrenic friend
i didn’t mean to upset the woman
in gauze & linen. i was just writing.

with a Haldol flat affect
he says, "you are callous & insensitive." 

more than i know how to need at all
she needed that empty frame.
the battering of autumn
gusts seeping past plastic.
her ghosts were on fire

& my story doesn’t matter.
i am no Virginia Woolf.


Sung Yim is a 5th year undergrad and poetry editor for the 2014 issue of Columbia College Chicago's Story Week Reader. Her far-reaching hubris has been rejected by publications such as PANKRattle, and The Paris Review. In her spare time, she likes to hug dogs.