Self-Portrait: Bullet, Prayer, Teeth


        Manhattan, New York
        The world wants us to see this—
girl in the ground. Girl
         in the gutter—lover, lamplight
         sifting through gum trees.
The soft, slow smell of fat. White down
         poking through the seams. Necked
         down to a bullet, girl: a cold
and visual math.
         And so we take heed—we let our fur
         grow out, let the simmer of eyes take
hold—later, we’re taken. Girls turn and turn
         away. Chameleon, we leap like girls
         into newsprint: green, ultraviolet. If only
the man they question would speak more
         than two truths. To stoop over the sink, to be
         dawned like a pear, white-bellied. To wring
our necks: the drain rimmed with prayers, pure
         as hands. To dream, by morning, of nothing
         but the fruit—stained
from newsprint skin—which leaves
full words across his teeth.

Isabella Jiang