all the days are dead too soon. today i wore a sign around my neck: KILL WHAT YOU CANNOT SAVE. today my brother renamed every bone in his body: bestiary, wire doll, soldier’s boot. my skin in the sun will always sour, a fact i try to keep to myself. what’s that smell? my sister asks, but we ignore her. i tell her it’s today, dying too soon. my favorite book when i was little was Black Beauty. i cried over that horse, then wrote my first poem. people always ask me why all my poems are about captivity and i say i have dreams where all my bones are jarred out of their mouths. i tell them the first Chinese woman in america was kept inside a box. what a dream, they say. some of my friends own horses named after their fathers: washington, irving, samuel. in another dream i am riding their horse inside a box and the horse is sweating blood like in a Chinese myth, myths where i am tall as a tree and i have a flower instead of a tongue. i am riding the horse to a planet we named from a distance, a planet rising like a belly sincere with breath. but then the horse gets tired and falls. i am so tired. i am so tired. i am so tired, it is saying. the horse tells me to KILL WHAT YOU CANNOT SAVE, then lies down at my feet. i know what my friends choose to save. i know what kind of flesh can be loved and what kind of flesh can be weighed. it is so easy to cry over horses, gentle beasts. my hunger is a scream in a stranger’s mouth. my name is roadkill on tar, burning like an omen. every day my aunt asks, don’t you want to be a mother? i tell her i’m just trying not to be a moth, attracted to the things that burn me. i tell her i just want a fake lawn, something too beautiful to be real.
i am so tired, kristin chang
(aka this poem is too long…….also i thought i was clever bc of the mother/moth wordplay and wow i need to sleep)