Oct 03

Forgotten altars

You blink and look and stare
and stare

As if trying to find the snag in the dream
the catch in the sweater
the cards hidden up someone's sleeves

The meaning of this miracle that tapped you on the elbow
in a coffee shop last week
bright with a smile and a "how are you doing?"

accusatory eyes searching, wanting to know

if you still kept the ashes
of a flame,

clung to the warmth
of a trail

listened for the thrum 
of a heartbeat

long cold.
Feb 27
poem challenge: Lifeline

You, Tree

As I sit on this stump and read
from these pages of your cousin's pulped flesh,
I burst with the excitement of next year seeing you draped in color,

You. master of graceful loss.

You, vessels of wasted breaths,
remind me of aching regret
and how we live despite it all.

The adults wonder while I write,
"would you rather learn to love
from a tree, or a goldfish?",

and I ask the question all week long.

Perhaps too many people say tree, 
not for what you are, but for what you give.

Is it love if it is also exploitation,
the story of the taker and the fool?

My father says a child's love can never rival
that of a mother's on days when she yells
and I slam my bedroom door shut.

He is probably right.

Some others choose you for your age,
and I wonder what my grandma would say
Feb 21

spiraling

Spiraling odes of love and loss,
lost pages strewn on the desk and the floor and the eyes and the sky and my limbs,
each one with a piece of myself I do not want to see anymore.

what have I created?

gaping mouths, the pages metastisize. I need to find the eye,
thread myself through the tornado. I miss,
the needle always misses, and a drop of blood puckers
at the scene of the crime. 

I put it in my mouth, hiding, but then it comes again.

Revulsion in my veins, running. Throbbing,
with each pulse of my ever-beating heart.
Blooming disgust, a positive feedback loop of smoke.

A girl showed me a picture of me the other day,
and I said "ew", not because I meant it but because I felt it.

The picture was beautiful. She asked if I wanted to retake it.
I shake my head, watching as a crimson drop

stains the sky.
 
Nov 08

Conversation heart confessional

There is something cathartic about talking into nothingness. Into something that always gives you an answer, unsatisfactory as it may be.

At school, we talk in dialects: sarcasm, dramatics, good student, jokes, and suspiciously angsty profundities. There are some days when I say so much of everything else that I forget my own mother tongue. 

At first, when we texted, I could only hear everything in your voice. It made me laugh. Texting dialect is relatively monotonous-- it was strange to hear someone so lively condensed in such a way. 
May 04

Taylor Swift, a good dream

Don’t mind me too much--

I aspire one day to be a good memory.
It’s a sad dream.

some nights I wake up,
And curl around the metal box.

There’s a certain scavenger hunt mindset,
Easter, overpriced and for adults

that comes with yard sales.

I can sell you shaded water fountains
And puddling laughter on the blacktop.

Cackling into sobbing, cracking eggs.
My yellow yolk spilling out into the bowl,

Pour carnival confetti on your hair

while watching you gasp in the sink tank.
Kicking, oh how I used to kick,

A blind fury of flailing limbs in the pool.

I just drown now, and don’t turn on properly
I’m broke, broken.

Do you want to buy me? I’m worth

The empty mason jars on the window sill;
A washing machine pretty, dizzy;
fake aged paper, abused, steeped in tea.

After all,
no sane person would ever
Apr 03

Apple skin

I wish for apple skin sunsets for you,
and may the fairies bless you with blueberry stars,
a bruised hue of battered pride and midnight.

Lined with lace, the conjurings of our tastebuds 
and cool sink water on fingertips as I write.

I've never been good at stitching, but I take the tiny
hotel kits and sew red buttons onto my desk,
the two extras that came with the new coat Grandma
bought me last Chinese New Year's.

My hair is tangled into forget me knots.
Was I supposed to remember, or were they?
The flowers are just pretty now, if we both forgot anyway.

Ergo, we fancy ourselves philosophers as the bathtub drains
and consider how we know we're sentient, if knowing is enough.

I can feel the tears on my cheeks, see God
pinching a pipette to drop it hastily on my cheek
while my eyelashes flicked closed for a century, a second.
Feb 28

Sundown Magnolias

Feb 25

mo(u)rning peaches

Night spills the ink of a day
ground to our bones

rooted in place under our eyelids.

the smell of ink addictive,
and laughing gusts, the best type of cancer?

Love braids peach blossoms into figments of want,
and into mother of pearl arm rests on chairs as old as me.

She weaves sunbeams and morning dew and makes 
sugared zodiac animals that dance in her blood.

Gives them flower language,
but all they see is a tree--

spindly tree branches cynical, leafless
for another 三千年, 你知道嗎?

三生,三世,十里桃花
One with our names etched, the trunk where we spilled wine

and then flung our arms around the goddess' legs
as the children, the wailing, do.

I cut myself on the swiss army knife the other day,
and I have finally learned how to mourn with her.

If I squint hard enough in the evening, 
Feb 14
poem, nonfiction challenge: Love

Little love

Her mouth is on my cheek

and I smile hello at her cherubic face, roaming eyes
completely unaware of what kisses mean

but she does it anyway, 
maybe because it reduces me to a grinning fool.

He hugs my legs, and says “hi” without looking up,
A world of giants and toy trucks and eyes that light up
with childish glee and chocolate.

Perhaps I am not so old after all, 
in my sweatshirt sixteen years.

Honesty, honestly, I marvel at how emotions
flicker on their faces without hesitation or second thought.

Goodbyes are more or less the same, but bittersweet;
I can’t tell if I feel older or younger, now.

An endless repeat-after-me of bye and I love you’s
Well trained to be cute and loving, I’ve always thought

But as her face lights up when we laugh, and he screams
I LOVE YOU’s by the door, into the chill night
Feb 06

hallowed halos, hollow be thy name

I don’t know if I believe in angels anymore.

I poured Cupid into paper wings and when the origami butterfly didn’t fly, I gathered rainwater from my eyes and tucked heaven’s silence into my ribs. But ire metastasizes, and my blood now cries pearls for the fallen angel, risen cynic, an odd metalloid of child and higher being. 

I metamorphose subconsciously, and the half of me that is my mother’s hair and cheekbones tuck away my soft parts in fear that I will metabolize them and self-destruct, utterly alone. She needn’t have worried. Fly away hairs are cherubs that hold their bowed promises to baby skin, powdered sugar that tastes like superfluous nothing. 

So I will still have my brownie, if only in teenage defiance.

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