Poetry: “Suburbia” by Annabel Li

I want / to cradle the figs, see how summer has / loosened their skins.”

Visually narrative and profound, Annabel Li’s “Suburbia” is an ambitious yet subtle meditation on the longing for healing.


There is something about winter
and the way it gates this town grey.
Like hands reaching forward, defined
only by the door that braces them closed –
on the news another accident, another fire
out east, another victim and static so thick
I can hardly speak. I defrost the meat,
clothesline the laundry where it doesn’t
belong. I am forgetting what it is like
to tangle in the undergrowth, fingers
slipping through slow, ticking things,
to be berry-stained and breaking gold
with soft dirt between my toes. I want
to cradle the figs, see how summer has
loosened their skins. Ask without an
answer, without kneading the streets for
murmurs. I imagine raveling colours from
the deep, scrubbing them with my fists to
inherit gentle honey, skinned knees,
echoes of the fields I ran in
when in our attics lie limp lilies, eyes
frozen shut to the limelight. But there are
still so many flowers. Still so much time.

Annabel Li

Annabel Li (she/her) is a senior student from Vancouver, Canada. She is a winner of CRAFT Literary's 2023 Flash Prose Prize, and her work appears in Fractured Lit. She hopes you have a wonderful day.

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