the common fig

the common fig,
the ornamental plant,
rotund, and ripened to purple

the common fig just wanted
to be a figure skater–
envious of their
glittered bodies
gracefully gliding
powerful and nimble
elongated legs
the crowd in awe, and those
striking blades
etching elegance along the ice

but alas,
the fig is but a commoner
gourd-like and fat with
mush and seeds
what an insurmountable fantasy,
a futile, mere
figment of imagination.

it has always been this

do i want to be
it has always been this

do i desire
the sharpness of my
knee caps jutting
trace my ribs like
hills and trenches

do i desire flesh
muscle like tough meat
pulsing calves
proud and robust shoulders
clenched fists,
an iron grip

brittle bones trembling
beneath translucent skin

or thick, quick arms

blue toes and purple lips
sporadically beating heart

or mighty, strapping thighs
heart like war drums

hollowed cheeks
hair thinning, falling in clumps

or sweat and strength

shrunken breasts,

armored breast

ill and lovely,

steadfast and powerfully built

do i want to be
it has always been this

Baba is home from work

Baba is home from work
scaling softly up the stairs
The smell of acrid metals still traced
under his charred finger tips
The rustling of plastic bags
knocking his knees, heavy with
Barbecue duck
glazed, crispy caramel skin
densely packed in a
Styrofoam take-out box
Coarsely hacked red-skinned pork
salty and sweet juices
seeping past the slight opening
Stir-fried Chinese broccoli
sleek with oyster sauce
I skim the sticky rice in the cooker with
a paddle, steam warping
the glass bowl
Baba settles down, his oil-stained
uniform hung, legs crossed–
and together we eat.

Cubes of pineapples on a sunny night

The window is ajar beside me,
I’m eating bite-sized cubes of pineapple.
My hair is soft, and smells like citrus
and the better sort of olives.
It’s night, but you can tell
by the lightness still in the sky–
akin an amber bulb glowing under
navy, translucent resin–
that it has been sunny all day.
The window is ajar beside me
I feel a little chilly now
and curiously, a little sad–
I realize… I’ve never really loved
the tartness of pineapples
or even the smell of olives.

counting petechiae

i counted the dots under my eyes
like i counted my calories
purple and green and red specks
freckled over dark rings
i stretched the skin
under my eyes
stretched them until my eyes went dry
try to wipe them off,
scrape them under my nails
i just stared into the mirror
close enough that my lashes would
brush against the glass
cold water running like white noise
i counted the dots under my eyes
purple and green and red specks.

Sweet candied yams

Sweet candied yams
steaming under buzzing heat lamps
bundled in brown paper bags
purple and red skins
glazed with honey.
Dearest, you’re kinda like a sweet candied yam:
You’re sweet,
and candied,
and a yam–
my sweet, candied yam. 


i run my fingers
up your serpentine spine
through your needle-like leaves
and carry your scent
like charred wood
between the grooves of my skin
i fall asleep with
a sprig of you coiled
in my hair
though i dream that you are a poison hemlock
around my neck
i wake to you, your aroma a name
engraved under my nails,
the dew of the sea.