Tina Chang
                                                                             Audio Provided by From the Fishouse


If you remember your place in this world
remember that you were restless meat,
that you were born four times: first as water,
then as a monk, then as an insect, then
a malleable distant star flicking on, off, on
in the child’s insomniac eye.

When I was a girl, my mother’s lover
bought me a small silver cross
in a bite-sized clear box and he took
me on his lap and I thought
he could be my lover too as I gestured
to kiss him on his lips.

Love wants what is beyond its reach,
blood red apple high in the trees,
where the sun threatens to harm it. Late
at night there are thorns in the bush.
I go unwarned as if I were predator,
threatening to take the world as my own,
to throw open its dark shutters.

The man sat still, letting the young girl
kiss him, then never came back.
This is how dark it can get, the heart says.
And the heart fasts for years until it is lean.
It shows its ribcage, until the soft apple
falls into its dark patch.