Cathy Park Hong


Body Builder

I can no longer blush. Half-face towards the starchy scape.
Birds limn the spindle trees, their Listerine-hued eyes dart
as they trill mechanical dirges tabulating not again, not
again / I can no longer blush. The flat arctic sky
boundlessly jogs to another hemisphere / She grows!
Or her pectoral grows or all her pectorals grow / A drop of body
oil the size of a water balloon splooshes down on a man as a graceless
anointing, atomizing into tears / How delicate the sounds are from

Hottentot Venus

Overheard in the heat, the air, the fruit fly’ s drone
of the perfect helix, overheard in science’ s repartee

of right and wrong, in the gossip of perfumed women
basking in London’ s charmless sun,

Overheard in the gasps of penny sideshows, the formulas
of doctors summing up freaks in taxidermic clinics,

Overheard in the echo of cubic hallways,
in the speculum’ s wand first tested on the slave woman,

Overheard in history’ s senile tympanum

was a Song.

Morning Sun

Raised on a cozy diet of conditional love,
I learned to emoji from teevee.
Now I’ m hounded by gripes before my time.
Twisted in my genome is this thorn,
and all I see are feuds,
even swans got boxing gloves for heads.

— Ah Ketty-San, why so mori? Maybe you need upgrade
of person?

History shat on every household.
Cop cruisers wand their infrared along bludgeoned homes,
demanding boys to spread your cheeks,
lift your sac —
Now, here’ s an alcopop to dull that throb,
hide your ugly feelings.