Cathy Ji


hold a cold fruit
and listen—

frozen towels
bloom in the kitchen.
unwrap the peony
wing by wing. in my head,

my acidic breath
turns bud to fairy.
i tend to my trinkets,
and, in return,
they smother me.

‘racial melancholia’
is too long a phrase—
i believe prayers
should fit snugly:

like ‘you can text me
or ‘good morning.’

remember iSpy?
there’s a version
for adults— bring a citrus
rind to your nose

and rattle off the world.
Jacket, lamp, tea,
slippers, ice, brain,
revolted body,
revolting body,

my tetanus, my slump,
an overpriced drink,
a rotten lychee,
unmatched bra-pads,

sheets that haven’t been washed
since god knows when.
memory foam hugging
my succulent skull,

caressing my skull,
absorbing my skull.

plump robins,
chirping at nothing,
we sing together again

tucked in daylight
saving’s lost hour—
i’m bathed in grease,
counting the sheep

and stars,
counting whatever can be counted.

Cathy Ji is a physics student at MIT. She has been recognized by the Ilona Karmel Writing Prizes, National YoungArts Foundation, 1455, and the Idaho Commission for Libraries. Her work is published or forthcoming in Electric Literature and Hooligan Mag.