Rigorous
Volume Two, Issue 1



Ellen Huang


Flicker of Choking

You break out of your rage
Crumble into your soft side, the soul
In that flicker, I can touch you.
Damning thoughts on hold, I say:
This is the part I might love; you bend
forward into tears, this is the part
I might save, don't you see
but your jagged edges intent on saving yourself
cutting me up in pieces in childhood—
If any shred of me still wants to love, to save, it's this part
Too far buried beneath the chokes of your anger—
In the dream only, you hear me.




Bodies

The body, injured doctor dragged on the floor
The white body, hours til shown the door
Coincidence, all coincidence.

The criminal, lifetime in prison cuz he's bad
The white criminal, he's just a boy, just a lad
Coincidence, all coincidence.

The shooter, we gun over and over or he'll attack
The white shooter, we careful not to shoot back
Coincidence, all coincidence.

The extremist, all who look like him, hunt them down!
The white extremist, one crazy guy, one ugly sound
Coincidence, all coincidence.

Bullet-ridden Latin dancers on a rainbow night,
Like black children in church, in wrong place at wrong time.
Parents with accents, we want your labor but not you
Dreamers who bleed and birth, just an overreacting few.

But different colors taking it in stride
Is what persecutes your faith, damages your pride?
Coincidence. What IS coincidence?




Promise Not to Kill Me

if i tell you a story.

shall i tell you of the kingdom
infested with rats in human skin?

burn the spinning wheels.

shall i tell you of the children
abandoned, baking in the forest?

lock up spinners of straw into gold.

shall i tell you of the bride made corpse,
dead so everyone now fears her?

your child may be a changeling.
your grandmother may be a wolf.
your neighbor may be a witch.

shall i tell you how the kingdom burned
hollowed out when the rats they feared
were their own sacrificed children?

a witch may be your neighbor.
a wolf may be your grandmother.
a changeling may be your child.


melt the mirror shard in your eye,
too bewitched and blind to see.

here, i shall bury the story
a bean under a hundred ashen mattresses
safe from the rest
of us.


Ellen Huang: "I got hat-stalled between Ravenclaw and Slytherin. I write twisted fairy tales and directs original skits, and can often be found being more nocturnal than she should be on a school night, sometimes complete with a cloak and fiery fake torch. I have works published/forthcoming in Driftwood, The Folks, Whispers, Wax & Poetry Magazine, The Gallery, Perfume River Poetry Review, and Hummingbird Review."




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