ISSUE THIRTEEN | FALL 2019
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 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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