Lilian Ha


Said you loved my teeth. Really – 
the one crook. The sugar and mint, 
pearls that whittled a dent in your
tongue. A lilt belling its way through
the gum line gap. Each groove
a birth, my mother emptying space.
Each groove my mother, tugging fields
of green harvest across the sea. 

Said you loved me bare, the
burning slabs, the yellow heat. 
A land for pulling pigment, a fire
to roast skin on. If you were to
drown in this parcel of a body, 
the paddies would send you home. 
Tell you a seed will not grow in the bend
of a woman’s back, in bowed spine. 

Said you loved my open palm, 
the bare stitches. Every knuckle
a jade, stone-packed, unraveling. 
My heritage breaks open like
cheap jewelry. You fit each piece
between yellowed teeth, 
say love is a minefield, say love
is cheap. Love is meant to dirty.  



Lilian Ha is a senior in high school from the suburbs of Seattle, Washington, where she enjoys long hikes and sugarless coffee. Her work is featured or forthcoming in The James Franco Review, Yellow Chair Review, The Gambler, and Rogue Agent, among others.

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