Lone wolf narrative

— Kristin Chang

Take your teeth off
             the lightswitch. America, I’ll darken
                          your face by holding it
                                       between my thighs. America, grief
                          your only stable
                                       currency. When a white boy shoots
             up the strip mall where my mother
                          waxes white women, she calls me
from the back room     backlit
             by our altars: oranges scarred,
seedless & photos of ghosts
                          taken by smoke. She tells me
             to marry soon: when the right man comes, run
the risk of wreckage: love him into
                                       leaving his country. This one:
                          a history colonized by holes. The news
             spews tonight’s casualties: motor
                          accident on the highway. Another country
defrosted by bombs. Another son
             kills his mother with his father’s
                                                    gun. No mention
                                                                 of the mother’s race
                                       though I’ve seen her face
                          is mine. There’s no disowning the white
                                       from bone, your body from the boat
             waiting in its blood. When another news-anchor
                          says acted alone, my mother says
                                                                 all knives
                                                    come from a drawer. All widows
                                       come from wars. At work
                          my mother cuts bangs into a woman’s blonde
                                                    son, asks him what he wants
                                       to be when he grows up     policeman
             soldier         at school     the teachers teach him to shoot
                                                                 for the stars
                                                    to constellate
                                                                 a body with bullets
                                                                              & baptize himself     white
                                                                 in the light.


Read more from Issue No. 15 or share on Facebook and Twitter.