Dialect of a Green Card

Kristin Chang

Meet me in the wood means wear your whitest pelt, water it. Water means belly up in some sea, salt mating into sweat. Sweat means don’t let anyone see you like this, don’t let your hands disrobe into fish. Fish means jawless, means your name exists in no mouth, an emptiness you can dress in. Emptiness means light coffined in your bones, a body razed for the sake of cleanliness. Cleanliness means new ways for the body to become dust. Dust means your knees learning each floorboard. Floorboard means mistaken for skin. Skin means bleached by your butcher breath, the teeth-lined sidewalk & its whiteness. Whiteness means tongue coiled in the mouth like a whip, blue bellyache, this violence you’ve learned to call song. Song means father birthing brother. Brother means cutting off hands like roses for a stillwater vase. Vase means light through glass, all bent, motherhood. Mother means exit wound. Wound means temple sweating with sores, a grocery store pregnant with the sea. Sea means spillage. Spillage means someday your obituary will be folded into a boat for someone’s bathtub, someone’s child, you look for your children in the water then the sky, your children teething the stars & unmaking in their white shadows.

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