in Chinese, pistachios are called / kaixinguo — happiness fruits. / but they are neither happy nor fruit. / they are birthed out of their shells / i am not happiness nor fruit nor mother; / only carefully extracted.
i forget i am anyone
but my mother. lineage convolts
around the tendons of my neck,
leeching the milk-white of bone
until my bones become muzzles
that bottle the howls of black dogs. to salvage
the wilderness venn-diagrammed between
the ribs of myself and my mother, i choke
my reflection and sew its throat
together to stuff it with screams feeding
the frothing mouths of hounds.
my mother tows away skin from her
antiquated thumbs, into oars like pistachios.
let me be more raw like my hands, she says.
but to be raw like a mother is to never bear daughters
when they march adrift; to be raw is to sever hearts
and let blood weep warm out of veins;
to be raw is to carve a patchwork roof
using cartilage to shelter sons.
in Chinese, pistachios are called
kaixinguo — happiness fruits.
but they are neither happy nor fruit.
they are birthed out of their shells
i am not happiness nor fruit nor mother;
only carefully extracted.
i am extraction;
a leech of the full moon
of my mother’s womb, peeled
into halves to exist on my own
when you feel my body, you feel the bruises
of my foremothers. i am statue
and i am vessel and i am everything
but myself. in reverence i will be mangled
into a bitter shrine. i never asked for this body,
but i am not curse or needle or shears.
to be sacred is to water
myself until i grow into someone i’ll forget;
but for my mother to ingrain an altar within me
is to burn a dozen forgettable fires and to let veins
uproot for nameless sons.
mothers do not bear daughters;
mothers bear their own bodies