by Helena Chung


In a foggy country
among bullet casings
I could come across
your body, which forgets
me (and my fingers
smelling like a house fire)
and asks for a light.
This frightens me
so I leave my phone off all day.
When my mother asks,
where have you been?
my ears ring before hearing it.


Dear director,
           What is the difference between apple and pebble? Both were abandoned on the street
outside the bar, and on screen your moon pierces them the same way. Is it the way your teeth can
sink into one but not the other? Is it the way one feels like cannon fodder, the other like a gift for
your lover? If it were my choice, I would have kept the pebble in my jacket pocket, thrown the
apple where the moon couldn’t reach. Instead, on the street there are bodies pried open and
scraped clean by animals preparing for snow.


For the winter,
you bought a
secondhand army
jacket. I said it fits
. But your jaw
was an adder’s
and my feet felt lucky.

Later, I told you
to take it off
because it smells
too much like
burnt skeletons.

I guess, not all
lies feel the same,
even when they are
draped across
your shoulders.


Was it our cold
golden flesh
or the slivers
of particles
you shed
when you pulled
on a sweater
that made you
and me


Dear director,
           Is your art a dinner party or a war?
           You always show me how she was fragile like a loaded gun, cut to the room to make
sure we know that this is not a battlefield. Then fade the screen to black, like you are hiding
something bloody between bodies. But you never show the aftermath, so I thought our bones
were the least of it.


In a film about us,
which of the following
would be considered
non-diegetic insert?
            bathing in almond milk
            the venom of a cottonmouth
            a candied apple, plump, sticky
            skin in July.


In a carcassed house,
picked clean of you,
there are strands of me.
Ignore these casualties,
sprinkled across time
like little teeth
of soldiers.


You are wrong,
being alone
in a theatre is not
at all like being
in a snake pit—
vipers carving lines
over stomachs,
over shoulders.
It feels more like
change you had
left in a winter
coat, or thinking maybe
someone yelled fire,
as you see a draft
hit the film’s silver
nitrate coating.