tells me to use my body to make beautiful things. She bellies a whole continent, aches. I swallow her mouth, sheathe my shadow in hers. She’s got a skeleton made of cutlery. Men call her magnetic, tell her the shape of her eyes reminds them of blades held slant to a white throat. At night, she stitches her tongue to her spine like a saddle. It’s slow work, preparing for birth: first we core our palms like plums, then we kiss every locked door. Lucy promises me that this is just performance. She says good acting is something in the mouth, like a plum or a fist. Lucy & I love the same things: to breathe deeply inside strangers’ houses. To dream about closing ourselves like curtains. To pretend the planets are lens caps. We dance together in a 7-11 parking lot and she tells me about her next movie: the one where she kisses a white boy and holds his hand until it’s a gun. Later in the scene, she will birth a hatchet on the road to Las Vegas. I like the way she describes sharp things, the hunger for less skin, more meat. In my dreams, I give birth to a camera that gives birth to her. It’s a kind of bloodletting, Lucy’s body slipping from mine, a shriek winging her mouth. The sound of it like a knife raised in the dark.
I braided my leg hair into a pretty mask. It’s about using your body to make beautiful things that will someday be in glass cases reflective enough for orientalists to masturbate while watching your art but really they’re watching themselves watching, it’s an aesthetic. It’s called echolocation, the ability to sense things from the throat, like how I can locate orientalists by asking So how much do you want me? I love the mirror’s possessive throat, the way I can be born as many times as I want just by looking at myself and then forgetting, which is the best part of looking. The orientalists want to you to rise them like a fever. The orientalists shingled my body with their fingernails, their way of housing me, housewifing me. The fingernails kept growing after they left. It’s the deadest things that live longest.
Kristin Chang lives in California. Her work has been recently published or is forthcoming from DIALOGIST, SOFTBLOW, Cosmonauts Avenue, the Asian American Writers Workshop, Powder Keg, and Vagabond City Lit.