There really is no good time
to tell your mother
you’ve never liked boys.

Closets do not relinquish
their grips easily
but I have always instinctively
hated dresses.
So when my mother asked me
about boyfriends      again
as we wrenched the tails
from luscious prawns
and cracked their shells with our teeth,
I offered
the truth.

She said
loneliness is better
than sin.

In my dreams
I am a child.
I am always fleeing the cold
of my parents’ house, always
the same way:

lock self in room
force open window
to reveal
a thousand mesh screens
push it back push it back push it back
sometimes I make it out, sometimes
I am trapped forever.

And ye shall know the truth,
and the truth shall make you free.

I twisted the prawn’s head
from its body,
ran my finger along its belly,
split it clean.

I have gathered enough love
for this kindling
and now
I am warm.

Grace is a queer Chinese-Canadian writer living on unceded Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations territory in Vancouver, BC. Her work has been published in Canadian magazines such as Ricepaper and Arc Poetry. When she’s not writing, she enjoys itinerary-less travel, live music, and loud socks.