by Irene Han
Art by Phoebe Wang
Issue: Kalopsia (Spring 2017)

I learn from my mother’s stories that I am a hundred years in the making and a hundred years too late, and that the body I throw against the world is a vessel of lost remembrance: utterly empty, utterly unknown.

When I stick my fists into the mulch, I dig up red roots of amnesia, catch sinews of old lauds in my nails. Here, I can gut myself with a promise and bleed like a metaphor − no tears, just bodiless brooding. I can turn my hands against myself, make crowns out of confessions, necklaces out of nooses and hang like a curse from my own expectations. My mother tongue coils in my throat, thick like asphyxiation, but words can do that to a person: leave them gagging halfway between Eden and Elysium.

In a life I don’t belong in and an afterlife I don’t believe in, I look for the saints of my past. All pressed into stained glass − I glance right through them. Instead, I see feet grazing the tips of tall grass and I see the knocking of ankles and if I squint my eyes and look through the crooked lips of an eternal man, I can almost see nothing at all.