TWO POEMS

KRISTIN CHANG

DAWNING

Dawn gapes wide as the pelvis
I wear as my crown.
I want to stitch a dress
into my skin, I want a tongue
that behaves like light,
imageless. I dream of a mouth
reforested, Eve left to name
all the animals. I roll in the
dirt with her, Eve’s darkskinned
shadow, Eve’s fingers
mounting my ribcage. Evening
and I sew my leg hairs
into a robe, coat it in salt,
name it armor, name it
appetite. A boy puts his
hands near mine and I crack
open his jaw like a window,
climb in. Somewhere, a girl
disappears like a jawful of
air. Evening and I fit my fist
into my underwear, let it
sink me like a stillborn.
I clean my teeth with the rusty
side of a penny, imagine if
images were currency: a mirror
that pays you back by returning
you a limb at a time.

.

.

EXORCISM

Cut the meat / to release its ghosts / Trade yourself / for a girl / who thinks meat is making / a comeback. In / fifth grade my teacher called me / a chink in the armor / but what I heard was / a chink in the armoir / so I shut myself up in a drawer / ate lipstick and played dead / fed on silence and other types of flesh / sometimes I love a god / and sometimes I love flowers / I can pinch my lust like a petal / I can solve my hunger / by screaming into a stranger’s mouth / there is no death / as brutal as birth / the way some wild animals / eat their own children / reminds me of ritual / of knowing that a housefire / is on the other end / of this phone call / and picking up anyway / the fire calls me mother and my stomach / floods with smoke / the fire and I play house / I build and she burns / she locks my drawer and sets my face on fire / renames me the moon / at night she reminds me / that darkness is a woman / abducted, that things have no name / until they are named

KRISTIN CHANG (kristinchang.com) is from the San Francisco Bay Area. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Perigee (Apogee Journal), the Asian American Writers Workshop, DIALOGIST, SOFTBLOW, and elsewhere. She has been nominated for two Best of the Net awards and is currently on the poetry staff of Winter Tangerine Review. She is now at work on a series of essays about queerness and indigeneity.