Three Pantoums by Lo Kwa Mei-en


Analog Mockingbird Pantoum


The work of ignoring the pink sore in my superior mouth
jaggers open — white men touch me like inflating a mockingbird —

effortless, the coming of copies of a reflection of some
thing, the not a real person’s body, the sexualness that may be

staggered open at humanity’s touch like a puffy mock ingot.
The revision scholars name a weapon. It’s the lip of the book

of a body not a white woman’s body. Some say personhood
is love plus afterlife, angels who too will suffer the father

weaponizing the slur-art of editing. Say it, the lippy gospel
of climax management: I worried I’ve never been a fiancée

loved in an afterlife of men. I suffered the blistering of angels,
geléed to the nerve I grew the last time I cut the vein of No.

My climax vanished vainly when it could not be affianced
in the sticky backseat of my noise hole. My verb was a treat

geléed to the hips I grew. After the first time I said No
I eked out order — the disorder of cutting red roses for roots;

the slick back door of voice; my cunt, negative cake in a box,
half mine again. And mine the effort of mimicking loathing

pain, my eating disorder, in that order. My blood roots a rose,
a rouge so natural it must be wrong. Like the thought of a whip

again, I have one word in my possession. The mockingbird is
spitting blooming copies like a rosé rain on the puddled pink

of the natural world. I have this leather fable, rough and wrong,
and the effort of ignoring the white spore in a spotless mouth.


The Crane Wife’s Heart is Pure, The Crane Wife’s Product is Pure Pantoum


No. When the husband puts on a soiree of inviting wrists
he pins them up behind the farm notarized for partyhood

and I disco three times to prove my bent for revolution,
a simple girl, like a stripe, special to the ugly minimum

on an ugly species. The maximal girl can be a simple strip
and if I could stop hurting myself I could say anything

at the party in the factory. My dipping hem is notorious
for gouging a man’s id, blooming spurts of cloud-breath

into my loom where a cloud bleeds rust, the bed gauged
for civilized magic, a plucking so consistent I will not

say I said anything. If I could stop hurting me, I would,
but the husband’s birthday suit is a hair shirt he needed

brought in from the air. On his birthday I hiss a needle
of pain between yellow lips like a pinion in a rotting beak.

I will not want a civilized tic, to luck into consent, will not
fuck structure and narrative in a moral pleather meadow

though I got fucked by narrative in a field of oral pleasing
spitting light into time into me: post-revolt, not post-disco.

Did a lip root in my beak like an opinion stuffed in pain?
I know the husband invited me in, plus one sorry wrist.


Yellow Swan Pantoum


The ruffling, white faces of a protagonist are meatless.
They go anywhere, like a petite formula in the embassy.

My body woke in 1994, one foot in the eraser factory,
a streak of gold skin on the white glass the white ceiling

the white cash, a flesh fold in the fetishist’s machine
in novels and dimes the protagonist can’t give away.

It’s basic math: my clit is an easy slope, a boss ember.
I woke to a nation plucking it out of the waves so

I broke up, fucked about. If masturbation is a solo
split, I touch half of what the protagonist touched

to a novelty of agonizing chimes. Forgive away, pro
-fessional adulthood! For I am fully grown and should

confess: a full belly is the hood on my default gown
and I wish to take a hammer to the fat bone in my head,

halve the protagonist’s half and — touché — touch me.
If I were white — do I betray myself, even ask it? — but

were I white, I’d betray me in a butter evening mask
like a poet who groans when a bird enters the stanza,

wishing to take a hammer to the sign on my forehead —
Protagonist, Don’t Shoot — but might say I didn’t ask to be

born, while being beloved, not born, shot, and gone.
I touched honorary white glass, the honorary ceiling,

groped by the entry fee: a bird that can fill up a poem
until a coloring of women spills out in a white space

redacted by white-out. So I spilled a guy’s masterpiece,
the shuffled white faces of a protagonist. I’ll be meat

of glass. I have to horrify the sky with my gold ovary
if my root weeps in 2015, my face in the racist factory.