Alicia Lai


I have been fermenting for
too long. I’ve had this dream
before: Look at my pink fat.
Look at my pores, breaking
in sweat. Everyone leaves—
can they see this stomach of
bacteria, seething? I can feel
everything squirming inside.
I want to stop their circling
hands, say, look how disgusting
I am. Who wants a body that
wants this much to be alive?
Look at the top of my mouth,
the puddle of skin, wincing
from the weight of opening
and unopening for the world.
In this cold, this wet, who can
tell me how did I remain how
did I remain preserved

ALICIA LAI was born and raised in Pennsylvania. In 2014, she was named a United States Presidential Scholar in the Arts; in 2017, she was selected to work with Tracy K. Smith and Bob Holman as a creative writing certificate candidate. Her work has been shown at the Smithsonian Institute, the Sundance Institute, and the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, and published in Kenyon Review, Copper Nickel, Humber Literary Review, and Curio Poetry, among others. Alicia is currently studying neuroscience and poetry at Princeton University.


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