“and even you forgot those brilliant flashes seen from afar” -Ruth Stone

A DIAGNOSIS

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Ling says getting a tattoo
Is like taking one step ahead
Of what you already are
Like sailing
Towards a lighthouse
In uncharted seawaters
Limb-bearing somites
In search of a head
A fitful body in search of a doctor
A doctor in search of the correct procedure
The smaller the breasts
The more painful the procedure
I was in the process of decoding
Chemtrails in the sky
A long line of secret duties
Tasks and orientations
Makes itself known to the mystics
I make a promise to myself
To get back to the
Animals I love
A pangolin a bat
A rat
At a certain point
A patient will have experienced
Enough loss
To feel like they’ve lost an entire person
Inside of them
The affair ends
The heads of the affair
Return to cloud time
The church closes its doors
And everyday
Sorrow continues to extend its arms
Into outer realms
That before were unknowable

DIVINATIONS

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Divining hands

Flowers that shake and flowers that grow

Nocturnal machine whispers inside my front pouch

To be possessed by a spiritual entity—growling

Torso alit with flame and pleasure

My first act of indecency is slowly crawling on all fours across a well-lit room

My truest form of self is the Lamb of God grazing endlessly in the forbidden meadow

CHINA BEFORE COMMUNISM

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Perhaps flowers should be forbidden for children
Until they know how to take care of themselves better

I underestimated how taxing the experience of feeling forgotten was on my body

I pee with rage into the open sea

Appears in this issue
Christine Shan Shan Hou’s most recent publication is The Joy and Terror are Both in the Swallowing (After Hours Editions 2021).

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