“Thirteen” and “Self-Portrait as Fish”


You shiver like a balloon sent to heaven.
The diving board holds you hostage, body
a synthesizer, pulses like an unsung oriole.
Hot kids scream, shove each other
into the deep end. Boys bubble up
toward the sun, golden monuments
of shredded laughter. You belly flop.
Bobby tosses dynamite into the pool.
First kiss of the summer, submerged.

Self-Portrait as Fish

My legs experience my first weather.
The fish on the hook wants his freedom,
stuck guts swim backward. Someone lays
me flat on a silver plate, pulls away tender
flesh from thin bone. My hair rises, a fire
strike, longer and finer scales, hardening
against seascape fates. I’d like to lazily swim
against the gritty blue, swirl around those
that tolerate me, and never be caught.

In / Of

Thus pleasure:
one cool hand,
body, world.


Translated from Chinese (Taiwan) by Jeremy Tiang