Self-portrait with a Teak Fleet of Sailing Ships

by Lo Kwa Mei-en


We were locked into the mystery
& wanted out. We moved like the half-great, sea

-chewed half-girls on the old merchant prows,
so we didn’t. Our backs were screwed to

one great thing, to the great by-then
ruth that canaried through the ruthless bodies

of water, while everything we had above the waist
ran & outran the vessel we could not run

ourselves off of. After midnight cast its lot
we cast about with our elemental heads

for a requiem shark, disaster, its undertow
& drag. What we were really after was the

hot knife & compass of the flesh. We would have
drowned ourselves in it, if. The sailor

-stars bandaged our foreheads with light as if they,
too, longed for arms’ breach. When what we’d been told

was enough was enough
to abandon, get by, abandon, &, barely, arrive.


Read Lo Kwa Mei-en’s This Is Siren Country

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