national anthology of the best undergraduate writing 2014


Jacob Oet  • 
The Adroit Journal

The porcupine and I skip class to sail to America.
We leave New York for New York, two hours later.
“Here we are,” he says, “fresh off the ferry.”
We walk the sunlit avenues, hands in our pockets.
We sing old Russian songs. Everything looks different.


Our pockets, and their dozen gold coins, feel
heavy in the shadow and light in the sun.
Night falls, and the streets blink as strangely
as the familiar fireflies above our chimney.


Our new mothers tuck us in as always.
The porcupine and I smile at each other,
noting the differences between the countries of
one day and the next. As we harden into sleep


our coins melt: stormy, sunlit oceans, tossing
white braids of froth which fish leap after,
filthy-finned, swelling white-yellow eyes,
mouths gulping through the air, and the errors.