I want to be looked at like I am the only pretty thing in the world. My
glistening body, it beckons for your tongue.
Mother, auntie, can't you see? I am splayed out
like a prayer, my limbs bisected. Revolving
around a lazy susan, a fortune cookie. I am more
than a pulsing heart. Perhaps I should stand up,
walk away from this disaster while I still can.
I want to be displayed like a three-act play,
a one-woman's show. Or should I say
bird's. Call me greedy. Uncle licks his
lips as if to say teenagers as if to say all
they do is cry cry cry. In my dreams
it wasn't always like this. There was
a waiter balancing me on his chin. A gold-rimmed
platter and a salivating po po, napkin
tucked in her collar like a secret. (I am
served with a lotus flower, which Cousin
nabs with ruddy fingers for himself to admire.
Good. He has learned to appreciate pretty
things in the world.) Maybe we
are all meant to be devoured like a duck,
dressed up only to be undressed in the
back of a seedy bar. I keep tabs while
she spits out her teeth. All of you nodding,
the same agenda again and again. Can you
believe people are gay now? Now you are
begging for entertainment, for a surprise
in otherwise mundanity. Clotted milk
gushing out of your mouths. I want you
to be at my mercy. In all my past lives
I am not the good daughter: but call me
Medusa, I'll place my hands on my head
and let myself be bitten a thousand times.
Reclaiming my bloodline, flesh
sinking into liberation over and over
as you watch in your seats. Say, 吃饭.
*吃饭: Chinese, meaning eat or dig in
Po po: Chinese, meaning maternal grandmother
Naomi Ling is a Sino-American student writer on the East Coast, USA whose poetry and prose often grapple with identity, nostalgia, and returning to her roots. The founder and EIC of Gossamer Lit, she is also a staff editor for three other journals. Her works have been recognized nationally by the Scholastic Awards and Top Ten Poetry and are forthcoming in Eunoia Review, TYWI, all guts no glory, and elsewhere. She tweets unprofessionally @naomilingwrites.
Naomi Ling is the winner of the Fall 2020 Sad Girls Club Poetry Contest.