outwait outrun outwit


an archive of pleasures, wounds, sublimations
& other curiosities :: profile

06.22.04, tuesday afternoon

Family is a house
a relationship of poker cards
precariously imbalanced

Like polaroids trembling
above a hair of flame:
the nightgowned nine-year-old
spelling bee trophy hugged tight
deer nuzzling snow on the tv
behind me; mother chubbier & younger
than the last time I saw her;
a sandaled foot, as brother absconds
from emulsed record; frowning, father
in the garden, crime scene of many
a squirrel's slaying.

You can't see what I see
in these photos--only the lonely
misfit buffalo lassoed
together by a thread
blood mistaken for truth
among suburban strangers
for whom diaspora is a word
lacking exchange-value.

At the beach we would sit
in the car, each window rolled down
& watched the Pacific over takeout.

O Cambodia! Mother's time-nicked land
where moms & pops vend daughters
to brothels for bags of seed. I'm told
unknown kin chop off feet
if they must belong to a girl
like me.

Gender's concrete
cast of an Authentic Khmer Woman
worn to every party & church meeting
from Boston to San Diego
the last ladylike stand
against our future in America.

Years later I made the phone ring
from Oakland & the cards came down
all: the queen & her silent king
the errant knight who knows his place.

I could finally smell
polaroids burning in their albums
I could hear the sound
the jackhammer of my voice
I could see what they would not see
fissures in the cast/e
after the earthquake of my desire.


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