i have known intimacy the splitting of a spine under hands,
the howl of skin paring away or is it waste the touch
of rot, polypore flowering simple threats like these.

oh honey oh spore oh fruiting body:
perhaps i have lived more than one life perhaps i have lived enough
look - the bruise of morning on my leg; a vein opening like an eye

i am pulsing like a wingless butterfly half-bodied. take me somewhere quiet
take me to the water yes, we could’ve drowned in all our light yes, it was entirely
possible. i touched the bottom i sank in stones we took the night for granted
we had a gravity now gone i eat dandelions alone dream of an endless autumn
pull moths out of my ears out of air pretend my body hair is cactus needles
shiver in the soft rain imagining it into many tiny fingers

i pretend i can leave my body vacant like a house let the fish swim
in it, and the wreckage. we can fill our mouths with ash and talk through it

witness god putting new ribs in me where does a bone go once i have swallowed
the fish where go the seams of my body if i turn myself outside in look, i can
quietly suffer i can lionize pain wouldn’t you like to?

i was a fish in my mother’s womb or a fruit gills flaring, swimming in a lemon.
could we be this untouched again bring me back the pink cloud
i was conceived under, the opalescent moon in all her fragility

SHENG KAO is 20 years old and attends Oberlin College. Her work has previously appeared in Apogee Journal, OCCULUM, Vagabond City Lit, and Noble / Gas Qtrly