Roast Duck Elegy

wildness journal

In the window of my grandma’s
             restaurant, a whole roast duck
                          dressed in my clothes. I eat the chives
             from its chest wound, tie it a twine
waist. My grandmother orders me
             from a display of the dead, welds me
                          a crown from cutlery. Tells me the story
             of a soldier eating his legs
all night, bone
             his only light source. In this family,
                          forgetting is famine. A body is having
             no choice but to eat. On the menu,
we misspell chicken fingers
             as children fingers. We eat
                          our gods out of grief, lose teeth
             to new last names. 

Etymology of Butch


I. Butch: Possible abbreviation of the word “butcher”

A. I am the granddaughter of a butcher. A knife plotting meat is audible ancestry

B. Asians are known to eat every part of the animal. Balls and all. Tongue

1. her wet deity. My salted chin. Meat-monger, I am bowl

2. of howl. Every bride is a basket

C. we fill with fresh eggs. My grandfather once butchered a chicken that laid no eggs

1. but still ate from his palm. He called this theft. He said every animal must atone

2. for its hunger

3. in usefulness. The year I said no

4. children, I fled the house. When I say house I mean

5. body. Tower of my wife’s wrist, bone-keyed locks. Language is the fugitive

D. of meaning: my name is the knife my voice unsheathes. Draws on its own throat.


the Shade Journal

(winner of a 2019 Pushcart Prize)

In Taiwan the rain spits on my skin.

            I lose the way to my grandmother’s

house, eat a papaya by the side of the road,


            papaya in Taiyu meaning wood

melon. My grandmother’s house is wood

            & always wet, as if absence


holds water.  As if drowning

            itself.  My stomach oversweetens

on fruit, wears a belt of rot. 

When the bullet baptizes itself
in her body, my grandmother 

mourns down the moon, dissolves it
on her tongue like a wafer. The night

a missionary fathered my father, nai nai
opened her legs like scissors 

cutting along our dotted
bloodline. With her teeth she tore 

the spines from bibles
bled open on the bed. In church

she worships a virgin. At home she hangs
her hymen on a bedside hook, blood

a mirror between her legs.

Conversion Therapy

The Adroit Journal

(anthologized in Best New Poets 2018)

this country’s least wanted:  girls
and ghosts  god I wasn’t born I cannonballed
out of my mother  I hollowed her breasts
into boats  o China  my country my cunt sore my loyal leash
you aren’t the first  to say you want me  on my back
at the brothel  I was born  most wanted  China’s best
whore  when the midwife  unbuttoned my mouth  for men
I sirened  I lamped my breasts  and the boys  mothed to me

Fragrant Maiden

The Offing

how our bodies domesticate
                        disaster: by swallowing
another country’s rains.  By reining
                        my jaw to the sea, my bones
lurched into boats.  My breasts bitten
                        into apples.  My mother says
women who sleep with women are
                        redundant: the body symmetrical
to its crime. 


Muzzle Magazine