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Louie Leyson


thank u Rihanna


when Rihanna said do my tits 

bother you? they’re covered in Swarovski crystals


girl! to all those white reporters in smoky 

black eyeshadow & baby pink fur stole, head 


tilting like a soft gazelle, body a studded 

brown comet in motion, her laugh the laugh 


of furious Medusa with serpents whittled down 

to quick flashes of light, open grin


a glossy fish gone swimming through my blue

maze of blood to heal something deep 


& nameless inside me, I took that moment 

in my mouth & swallowed it 


like medicine. there’s something about 

the cosmos mapped onto a woman’s


tits that makes girls dream of turning

themselves into incandescence. 


in another timeline I too throw my head back

& laugh, 250,000 Swarovski crystals sewn


across the copper landscape of my body,

a glittering aftermath of meteorites, 


a girl-shaped disco ball reflecting enough 

camera flash to lose the importance 


of flesh, to become nothing else 

but multiplicities of daylight. 

inheritance of glaciers 



my Lolo was framing his mother / in sunlight strokes, brush-to-long-dimness of salakot’s shadow / falling over the piña fabric / of her humble baro't saya / when the Japanese entered / without knocking / & slung him like a rice sack / over their shoulders 


/ to cage him on a lonely ship / to christen him anew / painter turned forger 


/ of mickey mouse pesos



when my windpipe filled with chlorine water / in the 10-foot deep-end of Valcartier / my lungs were phantom-carved by an ocean’s apparition 


/ into gaping wound / pillar of salt / winter re-casted as grime & girl-organ / was I drowning 


/ or remembering the one before me? / was it my body flailing


/ toward my Lolo’s shape?



is it his ghost who shakes my teeth in December? / my skin is brown and so was my Lolo’s / brown meaning: possessed by summer / so take my rawness / my glaciers / my arms gone pale 


/ send me seraphs / send me scorching / deliver me a mouth that I could die inside the heat of / only then will I stop shouting / my ancestral terror 


/ of dampness / below-zero / & boats I’ve never 

/ leapt from

Louie Leyson photo.jpg

Louie Leyson is a Filipina-Canadian writer based in Vancouver. She currently studies literature as an undergrad at the University of British Columbia.


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