Smile

“Basmah” means “smile” in Arabic. That’s what my ex-wife named our daughter; she said that maybe she could teach me how to smile. Our marriage lasted for eight years. I tried my best.



Papaavetam / Water People

I am not comparing myself to Creator; I am only saying I am made of water; I am only saying I flow to the sea.


All Hail the Queens of the Qing Dynasty

The history surrounding me was moving, a string of stories of restricted freedom and female agency told through clothes, household items, and artwork—including one painting attributed to the powerful Empress Dowager Cixi, who left a trace of her thumbprint in ink.




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Or can my heart argue I’m not, is home a true north / that never leaves you? Maybe if I could remember the word / it would be worth something.


Men Paid Me To Eat

The first time was in college. A boyfriend, or something between a boyfriend and a hookup, asked me if he could eat some peanut butter off my stomach. “You mean, off my boobs?” I said. And he said, “No, I really want to eat it off your belly while I squeeze it.”


ghost x garden x grow

I had to haul my baby sister out of the blood-drenched soil once I was done watering life back into the wet, clumpy post-abortion fetal tissue she used to be. Like all babies, she kicked and screamed.


photo of three guavas on the ground

Hope and Memory

Old love is like a veil, part sunk in the ground, part swaying in air. One can neither wrap it around oneself nor carry it along. Its shadow wavers on the sands of time.