Kristin Chang was born in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her work has been published
or is forthcoming in Powder Keg Magazine, BOAAT Journal, Word Riot, Winter
Tangerine Review
, and the HIV Here & Now Project. She has been nominated for two
2015 Best of the Net awards.


In this city / we grow accustomed to thirst. The sidewalk / skinned like a mouth & tender & / the bones adjusting in every child / silently / they lick their fingers / as if wiping / clean a blade. / My mother says / all gods are more water / than seed, she says / all gods repeat like breaths / she knows there are many ways / to be a body / to worship. When she kneels / she is soil / and smoke / creation / and destruction / This is the kind of worship / that looks like war / how the bullets / recall / our bellies / how we drag our bodies / into stiffening light & skyward / watch the ghosts that slip / from our mouths / like breaths / like pearls. / Everything alive / red & holy / on our tongues. / We / were once alive / Now / we rouse in the night / like blood. / Watch / as four girls take turns / massaging your feet / solving your blood in their mouths. / Four girls fall asleep under / the crucifix / on your balcony / wake up when the birds swoon / over our bodies / that is how we know / it is worship. / This is how / we learn to be clean: forgetting / our hands in this water / our children in this sea / their bodies teething the tide.

a study in extinction

I am full of tongues / and floor lamps / I built a house of myself / watch me flicker my molars / like lightswitches / upholster the interior / in soft grass / I want to roll around in that grass / I want to wear the land / like a face / I want to eat raw fish off / Chinese advertisements / for skin bleach / the women / looking like wounds / like pearled rows of teeth / every time / I drive / my mother calls me / to remind me / that the ocean exists / my skin hews / a path to the water / my skin hues like water / I want to look like the ocean / to point at where my body shorelines / and say this is what / will survive us / every time a boat lands / the world ends / my parents came on a boat / they saw their faces in the water / a glimmer like a tooth / in a toilet / my mother says / history is an unplugged phone / she reads articles about / traffic and drowning / when I drive she complains / about the windsplatter / the bloodpatter / when I hit / something small and alive / I say it�s collateral damage / I say it�s history / planting my ghosts across the pavement /


I�m trying to explain / why this body / belongs to me / but I�m sick / of doing it / with my mouth under my hands. / I am good at locating myself on Google Maps / the way I am good at leashing / myself to my skin at night. / It�s all a matter of translation / swallowing the innards of a ghost / and rearranging / your own / to make room. / I used to dream about selling crowns studded with eyes / I would sell them to you / then kiss the nearest door. / When you wore my crown you said / you felt too close to the ground / so I said / it was natural. / It is natural to hear voices / in your teeth / to change yourself like a channel / by removing something small, like a hair or a mole / to adjust the little things first, like posture / your bones are unnecessary / they don�t like to be touched. / They quit. / Now your body / always seems / to be instructed to collapse. / Don�t worry, I am racing / your ruin. Please don�t be upset. / When the aliens arrive / at this stage of life / they will not be here / to destroy you. They will snip out our eyes / for bigger crowns and say / Please don�t be upset / all I�ve done is rearrange you.

i was born under a pink moon

: and spat out by a fish : sometimes fish circle me like arms and i nibble them : this is gratitude : all my sisters� mouths swinging on hooks : not touching : i am so tired of decorative windows : circular mirrors : they remind me of a boy : hugged in a jar : a white hotel room : my hands disrobing into salt : meat only knows one version of itself : i am skinfree, feathered : most days : disguised as a cloud : when it rains my face : echoes : versions of itself : clasped to the air : like spit : like so many versions of the same movie : where all the actors have been dead : for years now : one actor says : disappearance is suggestion : he wears : the sky a red skirt : he eats : the sky rare and bloody : as a steak : no flesh can be taught consolation : i wrestle off my face : it is spring : but i abandoned my body : back in winter : snow becoming snow : legs becoming a riverbend :
shrieks wing off the banks : clocks breathe into my mouth : gleams of something : a bellyache or bottlecap : let�s beg to be born again : let�s see how much : the body means : how little : i fold into a softer self : a bedding of sunlight : a bedded slaughter : i press my face to the mirror : til it blisters

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