again I will mistake the grip of my hands
for a stranger’s, undressing before the mirror
as if saying this is all, my reflection seems
almost too small to be true. I will only
see my shadow when it’s too dark to see.
my secrets are only secrets in another language
I’ve been too ashamed to speak, words I protected
dearly as a fallen tooth now seem unreachable
as a distant star. again I am thinking of self-love,
we only call ourselves beautiful
when we stop believing so. for years I lived
under my skin, trying to strip myself of
every yellowed patch I could. blurred
mouth and brief hands, I longed to be
aestheticized, the exotic seashell you press
your ear against, I’ll say anything to be treasured
behind a glass shelf. I’ve been silent for too long.
at family gatherings, I would find a door
to hold my weight, and some distant relative
would speak to me in a language so foreign
I recognized only the sounds. it’s much easier
to enter a body than to exit one. once I crawled
headfirst into the ocean, away from the burning
city on the other side, the people were screaming
something I didn’t understand. but I swam,
America, I swam towards you with no way back,
with all my life.
Spencer Chang is a writer from Taipei, Taiwan. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Rising Phoenix Review, Rabbit, Blue Marble Review, The Daphne Review, and elsewhere.