O Mazu, Jade Woman, my mother
calls me jaded. She means believe
a world can have you & still
be beautiful. When she asks are you stone
again she means stoned, she means
your father will never be sober
so I’ll wear my longest sleeves.
Sometimes I leave the stove on
or sleep with my door unlocked.
I like to chance my life, to tease it
more alive. I rattle
my blood like a handful of red dice.
I gamble god for my softest parts –
the thin skin of my ears
the wet bowl of my belly
& everytime he wins me, licks me
clean like a hungry child –
blood through yellow
skin looks green – jaded
veins, I am always upstream
of light, of god, my lineage
an elegy of dashes –
truth is, none of us are born
impossible. Every body
predates its birth.
Every ghost is a preface
to living. Someday I’ll meet
my mother as a child, thread
my lifetime through the loom
of her bones. Make a knot
where I end
& she begins. Cut
my life from hers.


Kristin Chang lives in NY. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Teen Vogue, Tinderbox, Muzzle, Frontier Poetry, and elsewhere. She is a Best of the Net and Best New Poets nominee and is located at kristinchang.com and on Twitter @KXinming.  Her debut chapbook “Past lives, future bodies” is forthcoming from Black Lawrence Press in fall 2018.




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