i am running on six hours of sleep and the thought of tinder makes me lurch. not my stomach, me. they say the way to a girl’s heart is through her stomach. by way of her asshole. you’re the asshole, i say. everyone knows it’s the cervix. 

my mother wakes me up at five in the morning. I HAVE THESE HORRIBLE CRAMPS, she whispers. WE HAVE TO GO TO THE HOSPITAL. i think of the last time we went to the hospital. WHY DID YOU DO THAT. which would you prefer: a hospital with the veneer of elegance or a blunt one, to the point? CAN YOU HEAR ME. DID YOU DO THIS?

en route to the pharmacy, after the fact, our uber driver flirts with the passenger up front. you can dj if you want, he slides her a shy smile. my mother lurches. santa monica air be damned.

what johanna shatter doesn’t get is that no one wants to read her lyric poetry anymore. no one cares about her ex boyfriends and her contemplative sad white girl moments. sometimes my advisor scares me. when will i stop mattering? i think about you more than i would like. 

i tell you this, in the backseat of your car. the air chokes with anticipation. but you seem unfazed, so i try again. something is elided: i am afraid to ask. we chat about semiotics, the logical contraptions of signification. you relax. 

how do you say friends with benefits in chinese? i ask my mother. i imagine her nubile body contorted around my father’s. soft caramel: i am a golden dusk. we have been a part of the end for a long time, darling. 

i dread move. the way of an empty house, heart. we lurch up the mountainous terrain now paved with silicone, which i imagine to be slippery. i could never climb those hills without tripping. the north: winter is coming. my mother dry heaves. 

for a while i threw up daily in the toilet. so much so that my mother developed an anxious tick whenever the toilet flushed. what form that tick took. i know not. 

they say the way to a girl’s heart is through her stomach. i am impenetrable. that is a lie i don’t even bother telling you. 

in the waiting room a little girl peers at me. stringy brown hair, toothpick limbs: it’s always those. she turns away quickly when i look up. there are kids who look and there are kids who look. the only difference is whether they care enough not to be scared. it takes this girl half a second to realize i am impenetrable, and, repulsed, she turns away. 

how does it feel to be a monument? the sonorous tenor makes me tremble in anguish, gnash my teeth in rage. to be a monument: vibrating along sonic shackles. i want to punch the man in front of me. his sallow head, his pasty calves, his voice, which wafts fearlessly to the corner of the room. ANSWER MY QUESTION. DID YOU DO THIS?

i think a lot…about how it feels to cavort on the beach. will i grow tired of your voice? so tender, melodic. not unlike what susan used to tell her husband before his echo overtook us both. can i still be a stomach if i sink to the soles of my feet? by the way. don’t tell george lucas but i think: the intergallactic battle is devoid of a heart. richard, too, is devoid of a heart. i blame his pasty calves. 

suiyi tang