banging deadlocked doors
with bloodied fists, splintering
both wood and will, we
traverse the train's length,
cars clacking endless ahead,
of tunnels snuffing
our torches at every turn,
but stubborn, we push
Eden unfolded in the crook of your neck
when fingers met your interstices,
and in the fated exchange
of metaphorical ribs,
sentinel serpents slithered
'round my ankles, historians of
your soul and skin, and I could not,
for the life of me, summon the strength
to layer leaves over the shell-shocked
alcoves flanking each side of
my bruised conscience,
could not resist
the beckoned fruit,
the tang of juice that burst
from every gnash of teeth, unsated
as a river that crashes without reason.
hummingbird, will you
flutter in this cage of bones
nectar out of reach
whether you soar forward or
crash fruitless backward
whirligig, will you
soon learn the futility
of infinite loops
our city's a series
of flickering windows
the fluorescence flicking
in speedy succession
the same question echoes
behind every locked door
do we part our curtains
to these malignant airs
or content ourselves with
the hearse of our own breath
recycled like we are
hurtling off in shuttles
is this what laika felt
whimpering in deep space
every jolt sparking hope
of master coming home
I know you only by your balikbayan boxes
fish oil tablets like chewy amber
& cocoa with the tiny marshmallows
Every chiffon skirt you sent I relegated
to my closet, instead splitting
my trousers with childish games
I was a baby then but I recall
hands on my face, lemon-scented
& soft as butterfly wings
as my skin bristles beneath the equator
I see you now halfway 'cross the globe
in scarves & chunky sweaters
glasses fogging up with flakes
skating over frozen lakes
until you spin yourself into a statue
whether nestled up in clouds
or buried six feet underground
somewhere you lie slumbering blue
lilies thrumming on your throat
flowers are fickle
every seed an exercise
in faith, hope & love
if planted too deep
a seed won't shoot to the sun
& will instead sleep
if planted too high
birds will swoop & claim a seed
for their yearning young
water your seedlings
do not drown them; fertilize
but not by too much
elements can be
both foe & friend: only you can
tell the difference
We burned witches
on the fringes
of our village
for mashing herbs
to break the fevers
of our children,
our sacred texts
for hitching hems
above their ankles
before our husbands.
We witnessed each
sizzle and shriek,
awaiting a miracle
that never came,
stoked the fire
with our pitchforks.
Today, we're safe,
not on the stakes, but
tomorrow, who's next?
dream to dream
wafting out like dimsum steam
bamboo streaming past
my grasp, dumpling tumbling
off the pan
the sky cracks in half
& yolks out the sun, dripping gold
into the yawning
absence you've abandoned
to this rumbling
sugar and spice
whether measured or thrown
a half erased face, & no recipe
will bake a girl
nor will whisking
peaks, first soft then stiff
whip you into
perfect fruition, for all i make
if i collage you in chocolate
or pastiche you in persimmons & plums
will you once again
evaporate or settle this time
on my plate?
You're a miracle of happenstance
we wish we could undo.
Perfect words aligned to pregnant silence,
now here you are. You happened.
We don't deserve your rubber band
laughter like Roman candlebursts,
so we snap you back, a shriveled bean
bouncing off the chair.
In the kitchen, we're strangers
smiling across a sea of little fires,
waiting for your exhale to release us
from the parts that we all play.
Lulled to sleep by sugar dreams,
you wake to separate slamming doors.
Shutter your antique shop for the night.
Tally the notes and stack up the coins.
Lock up with a tarnished silver key.
Do not, under any circumstances,
allow strange shapes to break in
and rob you blind. Never again.
Spin the jade globe just so, for oceans
to echo your view, only to twist again
into unknown terrain by tomorrow.
Polish the ceramic cats by the window.
Rotate their Cheshire smiles away.
Why do they keep turning back?
A tinkling melody reaches you.
Ballerina twirling 'cross the room.
You move to box her in again, but then
a pair of star sapphires divert you,
twinkling in the dust of forgotten gems.
They call you t
They ran through the rice field, crops crunching golden underneath their bare feet, Lucia bounding ahead like she always did.
“Wait!” Mateo gasped. “Listen! I. Need. To. Show. You. Something!” He tried grasping her saya, but it slipped out of his fist like buttery silk.
The sun on her shoulder, Lucia stood on the crest of the hill and looked down at him. By the time he reached her, her black eyes gleamed with starry glitter.
“What is it you wish to show me? Is it a new game for us?”
The stars twinkled.
“So you see, at the current state of things, weather at the archipelago is not exactly optimal.
They say I’m a beast.
Yearning to stir a storm
above a landscape as jagged
as my own. Burning to stroke
tremors down a breathing valley,
soak my fingers in jars of liquid
gold, when I cannot keep my own lid
primly screwed. They call me an anomaly
when I eschew the Adonis they’ve chiseled
by my bed. I am a heretic when I topple
their stone idols. A radical when I
abandon the sweet-scented cadence
of their language. An animal to
want a mate sans blue-green
plumage. A monster when
I break things.
small town diner jukebox
casts 90's pop songs on a loop
across creaking hardwood
and paisley-print cushions;
there's a mustard stain
on the waitress's checkerboard apron,
a run in her hose
and fingernail polish flaking like dandruff
into the burly corner booth truck driver's
scrambled egg whites and hash, hold the salt.
if this were wednesday, the perky brunette
would be disheveled, sobbing
into her on-again off-again's embroidered handkerchief
while your food waits, forgotten, in the window...
but it's thursday and they've made up
and his breath is only slightly tainted by his addictions.
instead, she flits a smirk at you
over the pages of