Erika Kuo

is a junior Accounting major from Honolulu, Hawaii.


Father

When I feel your gaze graze across my skin like burlap
I fold into a creature unrecognizable

to myself. I chew on your words
while the guilt pools in my cheeks. I pucker

from the salt and hold my breath to let
the brine erode my edges. Sometimes I’m afraid

I will end up cast too far from you, marooned
like earthworms on sidewalk after the rain but then

the red crescent fingernails blooming on my thigh
remind me that you are my blood.

Bloom

                           Stumbling through
confrontations with myself
              is like my fingers
                                        tripping
over your ribcage
              so honestly

you could believe
              it was a sparrow perching
on soft willow
mistaking it for

                          home so warm

like my mother’s promises
             to the four-faced
                        Buddha in my pocket
last night and alright
I’ll admit
             you have made me so
                           greedy I crave
                                                                    your sincerity
                           so much an ache
in my chest blooms
              patterns
my skin blue

              like a bruise
                          as if my body

remembers something
              I don’t.