Long ago, squirrels lived in the magical kingdom of Reflector. In this kingdom, squirrels had decorated the hills to their heart’s content. There were acorn shrubs, acorn houses, and best of all, the beautiful acorn fountains in the town squares. Squirrels of all sizes could be seen running around and generally causing mischief. And far, far down the winding road (well, far for a squirrel, anyway), lived the King and Queen in their splendor. …
A poem about the shape of the moon.
emmenagogues, prescribed or taken to increase the flow of menstrual blood
There is a powder of madder… and two unattributed treatments: “The electrical shock applied to the Region of the Pubes” …
Renate Wilson, William Bartram and Eighteenth-Century Medicine: A Collection of Recipes from Post-Revolutionary Philadelphia
the shape the dimple
when a woman’s calf is pressed against her ankle from high heels
a half moon
on my calf where I was in surgery in 4th grade
playing too hard on the swing
girls will go into menses in
like a werewolf
A poem about… you guessed it… being blue.
“You’re blue,” he said to me
before he smoked salvia in the corner
and saw omnidirectionally
the blue of a receding sky, of a pill, of the national suicide train track warnings in Japan
the blue that a woman could fall into and lose herself in
grief curled up in me like a mollusk
like a tiny thing I have to carry till I die
blue in the Matisse poster of dancers holding hands and singing over my bed
where I lay alone
“Melancholy,” he used…
A poem about the black locust tree.
when she says the name
I say, “black lotus?”
I don’t know what a black locust
could look like.
I imagine something ugly
but it’s the towering tree with
green leaves and more green leaves, like they’re unfolding before me
she says the fragrance makes her go “mmm.”
the black locust is far
but also close
and I suddenly want to hold your texts in a fistful to my chest.
from the tree’s point of view
we are small
potting dark, dried lily bulbs
hoping they will flower
A poem about my guitar.
it broke the day before I needed it
as if on purpose
mystic Hungarian folk guitar echoing in the chambers of my mind
when I bought it
never changed the strings in the past 6 years
didn’t bother to learn how
the seal of the Classical Guitar Society on the wood
like a diploma
my guitar, better educated than me
$300 collecting dust in the corner
now that the string has untangled itself and let loose
like a curly hair
mangling the neat straight lines of its neighbors
and the orderly rows of the frets like bricks in Victorian houses
now that the broken wire has splayed itself over the whole body
like a fresh tattoo down a spine
I find my guitar more interesting
and realize I’ve always liked double bass
A poem about… my severance letter?
containing all the words they wanted to say
and all that remained unsaid
leaving a tiny, smoothed out hole in my heart
as small and round as an earring piercing
the slimmest paper fold
my final check
a reminder of the non disclosure agreement
I never remembered
my name in small, hesitant letters
there were probably tears
but the paper is unblemished
but the envelope is pristine
never work again
not in an office with a white suit
bending my mind to the
four sided shapes
the geometry of code
the final goodbye
This is part six of a collection of six. See the landing page for more.
All is lost
And this war’s not over…
~Shattered, Trading Yesterday
Faith is so risky for us Asian Americans. I remember asking my mom in 5th grade if it was OK to cheat. She thought and said, “As long as no one sees you.” The cardinal lesson growing up Chinese in America is to distrust anything and everyone, your friends, because they’ll take your spot from an Ivy League school, your teacher, who you need to bombard with Godiva chocolates in exchange for…
This is part five of a collection of six. See the landing page for more.
I will not bow…
~I Will Not Bow, Breaking Benjamin
“But I think,” said my friend, hedging what he’d said earlier, “maybe this is too idealistic.”
We were analyzing my most recent street encounter (see Part II.) I’d asked him if he had any ideas on how I could’ve responded better. He had a few, but he was concerned they weren’t realistic enough in an actual situation.
I said, “But we still have to have an ideal, right? …
This is part four of a collection of six. See the landing page for more.
I watched the proverbial sunrise
Coming up over the Pacific and
You might think I’m losing my mind
But I will shy away from the specifics
~Who I Am Hates Who I’ve Been, Relient K
The first incident of street harassment in the spate from early April was while I was working on my company laptop outside. A Black man leaned over my porch railing and said, “Hey, could I get your email?” I said, loudly and clearly, “I’m busy. Go away.” …
This is part three of a collection of six. See the landing page for more.
I walked the path that led me to the end…
~Angels Fall, Breaking Benjamin
There’s a promise to violence. It’s one I know very well. In fact, the first couple of street encounters I had in Philly — of a spate that began for me April 2021 — I did not perform as well as you might have thought I did in my narrative of my last encounter.
My history with violence begins in 3rd grade. I’m sure it started earlier, but my first memory…
I am a bowl of caesar salad.