TWO POEMS

PRIYANKA YAP

MELANIE HERNANDEZ BECOMES MEDEA

.
for: weirdos, freaks, math whizzes, candy-sniffers, burrito-makers,
lunch-queers, pep aliens & any other creature unnamed on the outside looking in

Stage had warm lights, a three-feet tall
barrier to keep intruders out. A gargoyle statue
stood guard, berries at his lips,
purpled juice dribbling down stone chin,
wearily aware

Of jocks and theatre geeks, the cut distinction
so sharp I bled my fingers tracing lined boxes.
The former’s backs straight with something
glistening, crying & entirely temporary;
a God folded into a boy’s carcass.

Distributed, pamphlet-ed out
Child breaking his teeth to catch his mother’s eye.
I the toilet bowl swirlie, with a smile bubbling
over the top like expired mustard,
pissing over the bottom lip

And making me yellow. More yellow
than I already was.
On Fridays there’d be pep
rallies, so we’d act so violently,
the empty seats farted out blood.

My mouth, rage, and so was Rain’s
(an autistic boy so fondly called after the movie)
& we recited Medea’s vengeance till
our veins fizzled on soda-pops. Drank our
throats raw, disabled from

living properly:

When Brad Cole cat-
called Melanie Hernandez into snipping inches,
off the tummy into the bin&there were just
sugary pieces left. For her mother
to press into the mattress and take

gummy worms as her final bow. Melanie was fun.
Loud, & not at all sorry. She had a Wizard of Oz binder
& she sat with us every other lunch. Melanie
could recite Medea’s vengeance like the
best of us, and no one

ever knew. Because

the muchness of her tummy drew close hands
with intimacy, and its warm breath broke their
legs, and muscled ours
though we didn’t yet know it. So
next Friday

we recite her eulogy. And hear the seats clap.

.
.
.

I BUILD A STATUE OF MY MOTHER

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for: the woman the myth the legend. It’s pretty self-explanatory.

my mother is made of scars.
……timely circumstance were her children, which
interrupted a series of lucid dreams:

……to garden her own plot of land that would beam
peonies and carrots into space,
……she pulls our teeth like ripping weeds from soil
&i learn her dream has never run away;

it has lingered through time’s tail,
foaming at the last sweet bite.

she is not a building, or factory,
or honoured museum –

she is a two-storey manor house
on a side-street that smells of oranges,
so old it governs itself, a country of its own people.

my mother works her way through nights
then mornings then pause then evenings, then
nights again,

deft fingers braiding rope that
hangs thickly by the door

To ward off evil spirits, she says.
there are many things I’ve learned,
& the bones of our culture is one of them.

Wiping the tables down & singing softly
her body has fed us through
sickly
nights that scent death;

when we first cut our tongue
suckling diamonds, when
the first boy slit our young neck, ……when
doors snipped our fingers shut

……my mother taught us to scream.
in the bleached sky on a 3am Sunday,

she braided our hair & in this way
we were made whole, only by the sharing

of her body’s meal – milk and passionfruit –
& i must thank her.

PRIYANKA YAP is an undergraduate student majoring in English Literature and Sociology in the National University of Singapore. Her work is forthcoming or has appeared in The Bitter Oleander, Dimeshow Review, Rust+ Moth and Eunoia Review. Her New Years’ Resolution is to stop waiting.

TINY SPILLS
  • Your writer crush: Too many—Hieu Minh Nguyen, Elizabeth Bishop, Maggie Smith, Toni Morrison 

  • Your sign: Capricorn 

  • Sweetest thing: A surprise 

  • Best book nobody talks about: Jazz by Toni Morrison 

  • Character (TV, book, movie) you most identify with: BoJack, the humanoid horse, from BoJack Horseman – kinda funny, sometimes selfish, but tries his best