self-portrait

the paint congeals into a portrait
of when father sent me to be
born:      in it, I am a moth in a chasmal cage—listless—
with my skin as the canvas and your hands
as the instrument
birthed by candlelight. in the mirror      I try to
imagine your fingers sitting
by our knees      warm to the touch         unlike
the picture beneath my eyelids of you
bellowing a leo: you and your glass plate         fractured
there’s no applause in
the scene         except for me      coughing silently:
in the delicate way you identify yourself
to be      a bird      a hyacinth         and recited the argot
of diaspora           and bach            and vitali – the language I knifed
to see if it was the same tutti that you
spoke of while
the canvas was still warm              and tinged.

Alisha Yi is a writer from Las Vegas, Nevada.

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