Like a good Chinese girl I’ve bargained my
voice back from the sea witch. I’ve been
paring it down to the bare bones, lean and
feral like my first good scream, from before I
learned to rewrap myself, body in a
curled yellow bow, voice in a warm coat
of honey. June sun slicks up my skin like
oil in water, a fish skittering,

spiny, its open mouth soundless.
I have learned to read silences like
blueprints: grass sprouting between
cracks in the pavement, breathless hands
grasping skywards from the grave.
Last night’s leftovers, rotting in body bags.
Half-faces, mouths forming questions,
a mirrored language I’ve yet to decipher
in full,

slow down
bless you

like bullets hurtling toward the back of my neck.
I’ve been whetting my reflexes. Without turning around, my
hand shoots up, reborn, and they smack into my
palm with a sound like metal on metal;
I crush the casings between my fingers
like so much dust. It settles into the cracks
in the sidewalk from which begin to
stretch their arms out iris,

By Crystal Song