3 Poems by Juhee Lee

Geometric abstract illustrations, primarily black and white with thin lines in rainbow colors

[“in taiwan both having and disposing hold equal value”]

in taiwan both having and disposing hold equal value
so much so you chase after trucks collecting trash

trash is a concept more than it is a thing
before something is called trash it used to be a thing

items are merely items until you give it value
until you hold it carry it dream with it near your heart
until you make memories with it
hold its hands
sleep next to it
wake up looking into it
make can’t-wake-up-until-i’ve-had-coffee for it
remember to put in 2 sugars and a cream for it
spend thanksgiving with it
overload every experience with metaphors that don’t exist with it
stay up knowing you’ll have to get up earlier than it
smile with its imperfect family with it
share playlists with it
celebrate that it hasn’t killed its houseplants with it
have banter that’s funny to no one with it
draw arbitrary lines between its lives and yours with it
introduce your family to it
freeze to death camping with it
pack picnics with it
fight just to know how much it cares with it
eat a lot of ice cream even when you know it will hurt with it
steal a t-shirt just so you can sleep when you’re not with it
write poems that you never share with it
pretend you hate valentine’s day with it
pretend you hate love with it
pretend you don’t have daddy issues with it
pretend you don’t see the flaws in it
pretend pretend pretend with it
& you value it more each time you sleep
& wake up next to it

having and disposing of you is the
challenge of a lifetime
chasing a truck driving infinitely an inch
before my face


I accidentally on purpose forgot about you
trapped you under a jar to save you &
just left you there
too scared of how fast you could run
if I lifted the rim just so

I had to stop you first
to save you
watch you distorted through the curves in
the glass
watch you fling your body against the
& try & try

& when I came back to my glass dome I
think I knew
even pests need to breathe
& it was cruel
& it was painful
for captor and captive

I tried & I tried
but I was just too scared

Paper Cuts

i. a brief moment when
skin is coated in watery mirrors
and it wears a veil of shower curtain splotches
and everything is shiny
and invincible

ii. skin is a stretch of sky freckled with
stars in untidy trails—
fickle and incomplete as a constellation

iii. skin wound so tight around
organ & vein & muscle & bone
like a large

iv. blood coursing fierce as a
hidden river

v. paper edge kissing skin
and gliding
and cracking skin into
two plates of a blade of grass

vi. skin is shells of the earth and
bone is the hunted treasure
no treasure map just

vii. fold as a wrinkle and
start new again
fold as a wrinkle and
create mountains & valleys & constellations

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Juhee Lee is a Speech-Language Pathologist with a lifelong commitment to dabbling in creative writing. Currently based in Los Angeles, California, her writing is often inspired by nostalgia, nature, and a generous intake of coffee. Her poetry has been featured on Button Poetry.

Caitlin Bechtel is a designer living in Portland, OR. She makes photographs about loneliness and embroideries about neurosis. She studied photography at Massachusetts College of Art & Design and graphic design at Pacific Northwest College of Art. She’s on instagram @ccccaitlin.