Revolutions That Don’t Translate

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.

This entry was posted in Poetry and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Revolutions That Don’t Translate

  1. abykittiwakewrites says:

    Incredible piece of work

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