Once a man cupped your face like a liturgy
unshaven & feral as winter’s jaw,
devoured himself. As if the body is only
a matter of percentages, how much cigarette ash
& mercury could coat the inside of the skull
until it becomes a sinkhole. Your body a tithe
under his hand, dissipating to smoke:
something only to hunger for. In the darkness
the man dissolves you beneath his tongue,
calls you medicine. The sky shifts slow
& all the windows flesh shut at his voice.
Your mother’s kettle screams. After, you taste
of soured milk, epsom salts. In sleep,
his face opens like the maw of a wild dog.
He speaks only in white noise
& gnaws away his mangled legs.
HOW DO YOU FEEL NOW
after Ocean Vuong & Joy Wave
Imagine yourself out in space, spinning through an empty sea of nothingness
Their bodies slur together, disappear.
I slice an avocado, twisting the knife around the core like turning a blade in a wound.
8:43 p.m. Three hours before my fist chokes the air—Joywave moving through the bedroom like a
pair of hands, a body through a typhoon.
A mason jar full of teeth on the bedside table—a mangrove on the hickory table—
I am not a girl— not a nest of finch bones.
No—it is only 8:25. The roots in my ribs recede.
Would the soundtrack kindly produce a sound?
I smash my phone into the side of the wardrobe, watch it come together again as a sparrow. Good
In the morning, I pare my antipsychotics with a serrated steak knife— half for the basil, half for the
See how I didn’t forget?
I press rosemary under my tongue like a communion wafer, thread my incisors through with cilantro
Well, that isn't quite what I had in mind.
I scoop rice into the wok, let the side of my finger wisp across its lip. It does not snarl, leaves only a
lipstick stain on my index finger.
Good or bad? The fifth metatarsal is purely vestigial, an evolutionary nostalgia. Sometimes I yearn
for an air bladder, to find myself belly-up like a white-stomached frog in a bathtub filled with wine, a
blade at my side like a third hand.
Good or bad? I could clip away the metatarsal like lancing a scallion, slicing the bulb from a green
Anything to feel as though I am still made of sweetness and light.
How I could core the sternum like a ripened tomato.
They’ll never walk away from you/They’ll never run astray/from you
9:30. I lift my tongue— the adrenal gland misfiring.
Tweezers and blunt forceps, I pick away every part of me that has ever been touched. I want to be
all stones, all sharp boy-angles, red strips on the ceiling fan.
Why don’t you try some?
Good or bad? I am full of stones/I am full of stones/I am/good or bad?
In the mirror, I watch my face rearrange itself like a Picasso painting, as though a pair of hands were
shifting my mouth sideways, prodding the tongue. See how I didn’t forget?
I tighten my grip around the knife, lest it cleave the air without me.
I am full of spit/datta/damyata/dayadhvam/
I open my mouth. Inside: dead birds, sertraline, cement.
The bones are vestigial, the fat. The only real fat is needed to pad the eyes in case of impact, cuff the
heart. Good or bad?
10:14 p.m. Time to scream.
I’ll be gone when the drugs wear off.
I want to be clean/I want to be clean/I want/good or bad?
Their bodies curl into themselves like an embryo/disappear/
Kathryn Hargett is a senior at the Alabama School of Fine Arts. Her work has been regularly recognized by universities and organizations such as Princeton University, the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, the Alabama Writers' Forum, the UK Poetry Society, and others. She is the editor-in-chief of TRACK//FOUR, a literary magazine for writers and artists of color. Her poetry has been published in or is forthcoming from the Adroit Journal, Gigantic Sequins, DIALOGIST, the Claremont Review, Sierra Nevada Review, and elsewhere. She is a Chinese-American poet from the outskirts of Birmingham, Alabama.