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dear Bambi/

 

this is ownership / giving birth to something / a name or a / woodland mouse. Something / to kill before / they can get to it. You / ran away once, Bambi / left your lawn and its garden shears / the mirror where other people’s / faces appear. But Bambi / the forest is gone now / in its place is an oven / mice frolicking in flames / heat taped over your mouth / Necks of steam / waiting to die / by human hands. Now / the animals chase after you / peck your eyes / from their sockets / this is where wings / would bloom / if you had any. Bambi / beg for forgiveness / or a new piece of real / estate. Let every soft / creature ride on your back / carry them / the way a cut carries / its hurt. Blood / is your saddle, Bambi / This is the order of creation / your mother gave birth / to a camera / who gave birth to you / rivers tongue / backwards / disrobe, Bambi / your skeleton made / of forks. The camera rolls / into an apple / and you plant it / in a hunter’s maw / you want to make / a tree of him / when he dies. As if pain has a stem / as if it ends somewhere. Birds / husband the trees / orbit in sets of two / kiss & splay / branches to pale / antlers. But now / one of your antlers is glass, Bambi / light bends through you. / Haven’t you always / wanted to be / through / to be motion / more than motion. / Animals bury / themselves for safety / for warmth / to be through. What / are you digging for / Bambi? This is slow / surgery. / The soil stirring and still / no trace of your bones

 

 

 

dear Bambi/

 

steal yourself back / from their hands. Frisk / & fly away. A man once / hunted you / but all he gave you / was a warning / no one kills a pet. So be / domestic, Bambi / no one kills a pet / So sell your flesh / for fabric, Bambi. Leash / your skin to a lawn / meat yourself. Bleach / blonde, shave away / your scent of soil / and the mirror / will return you / in handfuls. Live / closer to the surface / of your body, Bambi / Learn time in the length / a bullet can travel / then unlearn it / Call this memory. You / belong in your body / the way smoke / belongs in the sky. Oh  / Bambi, could you be / so beautiful / without being his / Cut your muzzle / on this wine / sleep on sheets / and he’ll wipe the blood / off your teeth. Let / your hunger out / then abandon it / a pupil drowning in the eye / There is a new / name for you, Bambi / and it is soundless. Your / antlers are handles / You don’t like / to be eaten. / Maybe you’re tired / of slotting your body / into his / Maybe you want / your face back. They / cut off your hooves, Bambi / and made you wear feet / Now you can reach / windows and / some doors. His breath colonizes / the air and your lungs ebb / fold into beds. Look / out the window, Bambi / watch the animals / sunning. Is it so hard for you / to believe they’re not / dying?

 

 

 

Missionary

 

my mother says / guts and glory / are two versions / of a man. she says this by playing her teeth / like piano keys / by burying my sister / in a flooded field. / have you ever seen / the ocean / dense as flesh? / the way it shrinks from touch / backward blooming / the way a fist clenches / reminds me of flowers / and forgiveness. / reminds me of the man / who told us / rice paddies are god’s footprints / as if they are someone else’s miracle / things that are incidental: a pistol backfiring / a sister buried / a name that does not exist / in any mouth. things / that are not: the himalayas / and history. have you ever seen / the inside of a guava / its pit loosed like an eye / that is not incidental, either / not the dark throat / of night / not mother’s knife-shaped shadow / or her son’s / apple-meat arms. / some days she forgets her hands / in the sink / and her son / in the ocean. / every hour / a man bruises / our door blue / and we call this a miracle. / the snow outside / the color of tongues / water dense with hands. / the way we cut the meat / to release its ghosts / we call this resurrection / to kiss every ghost / we call this / consuming the dead / to stay alive

 

Kristin Chang (kristinchang.com) lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her writing has been published or is forthcoming in DIALOGIST, Powder Keg Magazine, BOAAT, SOFTBLOW, Perigee (Apogee Journal), and elsewhere. She has been nominated for two Best of the Net Awards and is currently on staff of Winter Tangerine Review. She is currently at work on a series of essays about language, indigeneity, and refuge.

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