Kristin Chang

how do you blindfold an Asian?

a) a shoe lace1
b) dental floss2
c) a windshield3

I used to dream I lived in a shoe, like that white woman in the nursery rhyme, except my shoe is made of human skin. Except my shoe bloodies everything it walks on. Except the white woman at the window is my mother, scattering her sons like salt. I live in my shoe like a phantom foot, teethe at the pavement til my gums pepper with blood. In another city, it is raining. The kind of rain that fills a city like a mouth. In another country, my mother sits in front of the TV, watches a segment on a woman who sprouts hair in strange places: a black braid tongues out between her lips, hogties the hands of any man within three feet

I whiten my mouth with bleach, vinegar, lemon rinds. Til the gunshot of light off my teeth kills the whites of your eyes. I boil a lemon until it balds, swallow it whole. The neighbor boys say a girl like me once died in this house, ate rat poison and no one found her for two weeks. By then there was no body, only a mouth where the roof used to be, a belly where there was garden

3  My lover says I drive too slowly. My lover wants to know what I’m waiting for. My lover doesn’t know there’s always something out there saving you for last. Somewhere out there is a punchline, my body: threaded through a window or blurring the street like roadkill. This morning a tree grew out of my mouth and what a relief. I’ll sleep with a pair of scissors in one hand and a flashlight in the other: I’ll stomp into a forest of my own making and kabob every living thing, when the time comes

Kristin Chang lives in NY. Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in Poem Mistress, Apogee, The Margins (Asian American Writers Workshop), Nailed Magazine, SOFTBLOW, and elsewhere. She has been nominated for two Best of the Net Awards and is currently on staff at Winter Tangerine. Her work can be found at

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