Kristin Chang


We wade through the humming mausoleum elbows in cicada bodies cold up to the notches of our sweeting nicked elbows. We are supposed to be dreaming ourselves into nutty luggable things to be gnawed on later when we hunger from the coldness and the sweetness. Someone says this is where we should be able to see the sky but instead it’s all just honey, filming, hocking in our palms, glassing into fields of stumps that flicker like loosened teeth. Beyond, an emptied lemon.

You tell me we will know if we make it; a white cake will bake itself out of the brown bullet bodies, will contain a salamander spine, will shadow the dust of an ant. From the top of the cake we will get to watch the clouds. We will have to count them: the static of spilling citrus will plunge through the salivawhite, the crows will massacre. The stumps out into trees, quietly like blood. Beyond, an emptied lemon.

We can see it. We will circle it, poke it like a fatty knuckle, lie about it, trail cicadas, talk about making everything into a crunch, a teeth. We will trim fields of corn as flood bait. We will circle the sleeping kernels until they ache and wind and learn to be houses, we will lie on inside beds of crowwings, feel them gorge into wide white altars; impregnated with burn-ready oriental fruit. At a basic level we will be indistinguishable from a fire. We can only hope to hear the cicadas hatching all at once, their hard, tasty sound like a midday car crash. If birth has an echo we don’t hear it.


Kristin Chang has been a student in Cupertino, CA, Taipei, Taiwan, and Shanghai, China. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Word Riot, Dead Ink, Winter Tangerine Review, and Voicemail Poems. She likes Taoist immortality rituals.


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