if i am dead, then you are dying and we both have no recollection of a hard face-full of linoleum tile. if i was a drink, i’d be drunk; we are singing hymns from our cross-legged pew days. me, running my heel up the inside of your thigh. we, pretending we’re alive because we’re flesh to flesh and neither smells rotten; nose-deep in your collarbone and i wait for the milk to curd. we as two. you playing god with your mouth, cupping rain with a metal spoon. when the floor starts to rise, grip goes your hand to my body. we, the ship, tossing on a china white wave. i am a vessel and you are my crew. i am a captain and you are my body. we, held together by a tattered cowhide belt. we, inside each other like nesting dolls. i am asking you if you know how to swim — if not, play god with your mouth one more time. fill me up until i float to the top like whipping cream. before i am dragged down by the weight of stolen pennies in my midriff. you, as static as yard-sale boombox speakers, me in my fluid body, singing even when i’m cyanotic. we, keeping body and soul together, even when they are water and oil. even when the flood doesn’t end. see, you and me, we were cooked wrong and burned coming out of the oven. now we are being put out.
Diana Khong is a queer poet and artist of color from Massachusetts. She is currently on the five-femme of color team curating the small zine, Ascend, and the literary magazine, Girlfruit. Her work takes on modern colonization, life post-diaspora, and what it feels like to be a Vietnamese woman in a white man’s America. She is 16.