Best of the Net 2019  

Letter to My Grandmother in Tsingtao

On fire I'm unfuckable, I'm war
bridegroom, the knife piloting
the wound. I'm the eye

bleeding sight. The screen scabbing
over me, the camera angled
for entry. I hook you

like a lure. I storyboard origin:
where a girl grows from god's side
wound & my mouth

mentors her pleasure. Turn down
your eyes. I've little-spooned
the moon & screwed the stars

back into my skull. Whoever
said fear is a foothold
has never climbed

me. Mount an axe where the sky
should be. Mountains are named
for their view, what you want to see

atop me. Expect to bleed
today. I trade my feet
for a landscape of losses:

a sea made of teeth, your nipples
roaming my mouth. My thumbs
wet thorns, my threefold thighs

& double-dog hunger, each barkless
tree I skinned alive with my teeth. God
bills me for my birth & I pay

back with my life. I'm alive
now that I'm dead, I look
like my mother's mother, the one

who skipped her face like a stone
across three seas, the one I receive
like a bullet to the bone, my breasts blown

glass. My knock-out ass. You can't
convince me history isn't
pornography. I have a body

but nowhere to bury it.
I have a harness but no horse
to breed for it. What we call

tame you call talent. What
you call country I call
no one picking up. Tonight

my mother shipwrecks my fantasies, rains
my bed into a riverbank, turns
my girl back into a pyre, my body back

to a movie birth scene, false
blood & stagelight, my mother calling cut
her out of me, the camera

my father & I
its foundling.

- K Ming Chang (from The Adroit Journal)