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Literature
Let me tell you
I. What are you?
ah        I know        What you are:
I can see it in your        misshapen eyes, half-
moon indentations from        your mother’s dirty fingernails––
and        look at your        rice-paper skin that
curls and yellows        with just a bit of sun––        don’t
tell me,        let me        guess––        Nihaoma? Konichiwah?        
no, actually, it’s        annyeonghaseyo
II. Waegukin
but        you can’t be        One of Us, not really,        no: your eyes
are too wide        and naturally folded, your limbs are
like cedar planks, long
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Literature
I am what
Mother        am I        no longer Daughter        am I just
a half-breed breath        caught behind wet        pursed lips      that somehow
clawed its way out?        a soul full of teeth and        chipping thoughts
a body-not-quite-in-body        transfigured        transmuted        transubstantiated
with an unholy        yellow-and-white casing        roaming barefoot
through a dense        dark wood        leaving what-creature-is-this? tracks:
they speculate about        a woman        with branches for hair
strands stretching thick        into deep        tarry sky        a Strange
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Literature
Gather me up, Naomi,
then release me
into your famine song, sighing out
from where it’s slung about your breasts
and hanging hips, mumbling of
wasted milk, grief like honey, starched
and sticky between your
shoulder blades. I’ll tread lightly
on those notes, which whistle and jangle
like resurrected sparrows; follow you windswept
along the hem of any god’s shadow; comb
and curl myself into the perfect wife
at any man’s feet, then place the harvest
in your wanting arms to the soft, dis-
believing incantation: “Naomi
has a son again.” And in that dirge
turned hallelujah chorus, all those
best forgotten are set ablaze like
driftwood effigies staked in midnight
desert sand, thistles of recollection crooning
in the gigantic crush of immolation: “So it’s you
she’s finally chosen: Naomi as Mother, Boaz as
Father and Lover––and so, Ruth, never once
a child, can be forever Daughter.”
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Literature
Woman in a dark room
       “I can’t tell you what’s worse:
to be a medium, contorting
my fingers to cast the shadow-
spell of a dead girl upon a smooth,
taut wall, recounting once-in-body-now-out-
of-body days to an enraptured audience
in the most intoxicatingly
sensible way––(‘So here,
       we can see the striking
of skin with matches and
needles, much like sandpaper
or sackcloth; and now, follow that slow
lean into every shuddering chuff
of smoke, balloon-
pop! of faery blood spilling all
over Mother’s oriental rug…’)––
       or to relocate the pulse
of that time, to walk
into a dark room wet with
dreadful, remembered things––to re-
inhabit That Body once more, feel
the skin rearrange itself around
your limbs (too tight!), a reminder
that Those Days will always keep you
       no matter how you turn from them.”
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Literature
(tremulous, tremendous)
Some years removed, I return:
again, a stranger
         ––again, Other and, yes, Unknown––
         in this land overlaid
with faint, mushroom fingerprints
                   (my own?),
dappled shadow of occasional devotion
through spider’s lace.
Some memories turn away
from me, but others
         remain. So, the sensation
of a sudden, early-
November Renaissance, followed by
         an obsession with Boy Who Wasn’t
         Really There crouching
in the mouth of a gigantic, sometimes swaying oak tree
                   ––a weakness
for smudging time across
the corner of a desk.
(And always) I wonder
if I ever belonged
         in that polite, pastoral dream.
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Literature
Maps
My skin curls back and away like burning parchment. Mid-
May sunlight is an accomplished mapmaker, I’ve found. I watch
as new roadways careen across my forearms, wonder
at the momentary islands rising up along the patient river
of my spine. I spot pockmarked burial grounds blooming
between my shoulder blades. And as I walk those spaces
with my eyes, I remember the secrets that long-ago boy left
in my country, hands pressing against my sacred hills,
then enfolding and finally resting in the simple basin
just beneath my collarbones and above my breasts––
in supplication for what he believed might not come to pass.
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Literature
And now
for the benediction: because I’m
obsessed with endings, that slow going-
out from the pews.
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Literature
Mother Smoke
That night, Mother       let her hair up
so strands       could spark and shiver      against one another
in the too-blue night. And       as I watched,
foggy waves       pushing out       into the sky from
sugarcane smokestacks      collided, twirled and         trilled
with tendrils of      fast-decaying moonbeams,       last exhalations.
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Literature
Can't seem to say
what has me by the neck but hasn’t       got me by the tongue––        no, and that
can’t seem to stop beating       down on you and me, then       stroking up
the side of both       our faces with conciliatory       murmurs, gentle imploring:
‘I didn’t mean––’       ‘I should’ve thought––’       ‘I don’t know why I’m       this way.’
But how much longer       will we be fooled       by retrospective retelling? After all,
I’m never       slow to anger and you’re       no longer quick       to forgive.
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Literature
2007-
It doesn’t really       announce itself       anymore. There’s       no cause
for that       —I already know the markings, the when       and the where. A little
ways       into September       —no later than mid-November, as       dewy frost
begins to gather       cautiously over elementary school soccer fields       and fleece-
lined coats with mitten- and hat-filled pockets       make their way reluctantly       out of
hallway closets—       yes, right around this time of year       there’s that slight, telltale
prickle       between my eyes, gentle snarl       of my insides, inevitable,       un-
avoidable       f r  a   y   i  n g        
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Literature
The oracle
more often now       I unknot my fists and exhale       that world of
secret knowing and let it       hurtle past       me, old mantras
rushing like ghosts      back underground. And       with each breath,
I’m left cradling questions       instead       and doubts without any intention
of ever leaping.       Perhaps this means I’m       forever damned
to Never Truly Know       again       —but having seen how       certain
knowledge can be but       purest       torment, I think I can live       with that.
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Literature
The places that scare me: Tic-Tac-Toe
One day       she found out I had lied, as mothers       almost
always do. I cried and       blamed Adam and Eve, the
original liars.       I was only four       or five, but I already knew
how       ––a precocious sinner       like Augustine. We sat
on the parquet floor       together with rain beating
down       on the dirty skylight above our heads
and prayed       for my soul: “Repeat       after me,” she said.
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Literature
The places that scare me: Fever
She used to       tiptoe       into my darkened bedroom and tuck
the thick, green comforter       around my body       ––locking in the heat
like I was       one of her spring rolls       on the kitchen counter.
She’d lay a cool rag       on my forehead, then       whisper
prayers over me       as if       anointing the dead.
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Literature
The places that scare me: Morning exercises
Mother taught me
how to       imitate Crane:       here, stand on
one foot and       stretch the other
behind you, strain your arms       out from your sides
as if they were colossal       white       wings,
keep your back straight like a plank       —hold,       hold
until you feel       your limbs       begin to shimmer. Your body
is an       infinite line       drawing       nearer
and nearer       to God.
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Literature
To my Self on dark nights
Do not give up.
This will not destroy you.
Morning will come again.
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Mature content
this is yours :iconunreliableruth:UnreliableRuth 0 0

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I. What are you?

ah        I know        What you are:
I can see it in your        misshapen eyes, half-
moon indentations from        your mother’s dirty fingernails––
and        look at your        rice-paper skin that
curls and yellows        with just a bit of sun––        don’t
tell me,        let me        guess––        Nihaoma? Konichiwah?        

no, actually, it’s        annyeonghaseyo


II. Waegukin

but        you can’t be        One of Us, not really,        no: your eyes
are too wide        and naturally folded, your limbs are
like cedar planks, long        and heavy and        ––mosenggyoso!––
and your body        is too soft, like        an albino bullfrog belly        (White bodies
are always soft        because all the spaces they inhabit        are safe)––
we see none of Us        in You        so you can’t possibly be––

yes,        yes––        but I        am

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UnreliableRuth
It's not Ruth.
United States
I like sad songs and bad puns. Also, cats.

I mostly write poetry, but I will occasionally write prose (read: mediocre attempts at romance and magical realism) as well.
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:iconoviedomedina:
oviedomedina Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2016
Thank you for the favorite! :)
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UnreliableRuth Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2016
You're very welcome! Thanks for the fave as well :D
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Thank you for adding a :+fav:
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You're very welcome!
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thank you for the fav! :)
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Scarlettletters Featured By Owner May 21, 2016  Professional Writer
Thanks for faving my work - I appreciate the support!
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Thanks very much for the fave.
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