By Franny Choi
Look. Sheʼs fallen
onto the curb of the corner store,
a goose shot from the sky.
See the crooked haunting her mouth,
limbs splintered into strange angles; makeup
bleeding watercolors; eyes hollow
as her bones.
She could be an angel whose wings
burned off in the atmosphere –
a beautiful waste.
a dead girl.
Everyone drools when the virgin falls
from grace into the gnarled jaws of
the earth – red mouth cut slack,
eyes empty. Everyone wants a broken-glass girl,
bought second hand.
Look. The damage
was already there.
You are absolved, my son.
By Franny Choi
We’ve brought our friend Emilio back to his apartment
after finding him sloshing down Manton, a raft staggering
in an unseen storm. He is spilling over the lid
but still wants to go to the party. He is smiling with every tooth
at the darkening night that we know is all around him these days.
We try to coax him back from the gangplank. He is still laughing,
the deck pitching his limp body, like a whale juggling its prey
before swallowing. We are still trying to smile, crooning calm waters
when Emilio reaches out, hooks his fingers into my scalp –
Chinita, chinita bella
before he’s pulled down.
Then he is in bed. Then we are driving away,
unsure of how to apologize to each other.
I can’t touch anyone without crying, so I look out the window,
let the trees play back the memory of tentacles in my hair,
how small I made myself, how I pleaded quiet as a bird
knocked out of the air. How the dog knows why it’s kicked,
declawed by what it calls friend. How I’d seen the clouds
gathering in his eyes just before he hit the water, and how
I know that storm all too well, the secret
always swimming just beneath the surface
of every grinning ally.
By Franny Choi
I. Letter From The World To My Eyes
Ey ma! You so slice
cross face. Razor pinch
all flat-like. Neat knife wound
inheritance passed down
along sleek vine, here’s a mask.
Ey bucktooth cartoon! You so
puff & sting. Rice paper. War
paddy. Refugee. Spit. Take it.
Tight lids. Dagger flick.
Stick shift. Tease. Lemon juice.
Too much sun? Cat squeezing
fish spine from back? See bone,
ghost face. Wide screen. We all
scream. You mad?
Seething in the corner? You
blind-eye? You cock-
roach? You gleaming all teeth
no iris at the sun’s grin?
II. Letter From My Eyes To The World
Act like you
never seen a pinhole
camera. I drink every
every. Condense light
into its smallest body.
Franny Choi is a Korean-American poet, playwright, and fiction writer. A Pushcart Prize nominee, her work has appeared in Fringe, CAP, Apogee, Tandem and others. Her play Mask Dances was staged in the 2011 Writing is Live Festival at Rites and Reason Theatre. Her first full-length collection of poems is forthcoming on Write Bloody Publishing. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island, with her friends and an avocado tree.
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