Peer Review by zu0 (United States)

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to ache for the home you've never known

By: jun lei


PROMPT: Farsick

you were not born. you were built. your femurs and fibulae were carved from towering oaks and your vertebrae chiseled from a cherry tree like the one George Washington felled. your bones were wrapped in layers of linen and silken skin was sewn over your softened skeleton after the sea had been siphoned into your veins. (waves crash against your bones, and sometimes the salt of the sea seeps from your skin in the shape of blood, sweat, and tears).

your body was built from the world around you, though you called it blood and bone. perhaps, you think, that is why you ache: because you are of this world. (you breathe air laced with ozone and drink water spiked with carcinogens until pollutants flit through your veins and you, too, are made of pain). 

but that is only a fragment of the truth. you ache because are of this world, and you ache because you have never been home. bathed in the darkness of your mother's womb, awash in the lights of a city that never sleeps, wrapped in the warmth of an island that reeked of trash and disdainful privilege, you have been told you were home. (you swallowed the lie and it slid down your throat like honey and earl grey, for they felt like home for a shard of a second. then you retched and the bile burned your tongue). they were not home, they were never home for more than a stolen second. 

home, you think, is when you hear a ghost of the melody that once danced across your heartstrings resurrected in full.

you have heard shards of the symphony, scattered across years tucked between your ribs and curled in your cranium.
you heard it in the gentle drum of your mother's heart before it was drowned by anxious murmurs, in the song the stars spun before they were swallowed by the smog of the city that never sleeps, in the lullaby of the whispering palms before they were cruelly decapitated. home has run its slender fingers over the strings stretched across the lyre of your rib cage, but homo sapiens have shackled it to a crag like Prometheus. 

day after day, the crows return. they consume its organs with beaks of plastic and pollution.

in the stifling silence, you strain your ears for the phantom melody, and are rewarded with snatches. waves crash upon the shore like hands upon chords, wind sweeps across snow like a bow against a violin, lilting birdsong rises to a silenced crescendo. 
the blood in your veins calls to the salt of the sea, the breath in your lungs calls to the wind of the sky, the forest in your spine calls to the forest of Gaia. 

when you tell them this, they think that you long for ivory sands and cerulean seas. they think that you yearn for the howling breath of Boreas and a storm of Arctic snow. they think that you wish for lush forests and flashes of color feathers. 

you do not. 

you long for seas that do not spit plastic. for winds that do not carry pollutants. for forests that are not pregnant with chemicals. you long for an earth that has not been ruined. for the home she once was before skyscrapers scarred her skin, before chemicals ran rampant in her roaring river veins, before the atmosphere of her lungs were polluted--
before the two-legged parasites sank their teeth into her flesh and devoured what was never theirs. 

you long for a symphony you shall never hear while money grows greener than trees. 

my definition of farsick: to ache for the home you've never known. 
i don't know if this even makes sense. 

Peer Review

i adore your use of imagery and metaphor. you painted such a beautifully haunted picture in my mind, the turmoil and the torment of forever longing for something that you don't quite understand how to get is amazing.


no real confusion or anything i just wanted to know if it became a call to action a little at the end where it became more about social reform. i think it's a really cool connection! i loved how you portrayed the angst and then it became clear that it was also spite and anger at the world.


Reviewer Comments

i love how you write and i think this is a great piece! i hope you continue writing because i think you'd go far