Rigorous
Volume Five, Issue 3



to cherie — loving you is all these things (a glossary in reverse):

Grace Kwan


S

starting a new book and realizing it’s about yourself, roses steaming on the bath’s surface. three smudges on a fogged mirror, an accident or a smile. the stepstool you use to reach the top of the medicine cabinet.

a sky full of soil, leaves like music, ripe and bursting velvet, earthworms wriggling through clouds, clouds a shock of colour and pollen. books’ pages coming back to life, peeling bark bathed in rioting sunlight. quickening. a hand pulling your hand out of dirt.

R

rivulets of grace carving trails down my wrists, water only holy when it’s yours, fruit so much like summer it tumbles heavy from the bough when the sun sets.

M

molten gold, delight, pleasure, roughened honey, surprise, sin, quaking joy, unfinished sentences.

matrimony, devilish: teeth clacking in the dark, unburied bones a tactile delicacy. eyes dipped in bronze to be worn around your neck, cradled in the hollow of your chest.

L

a lungful of ocean, a taste of thunder, thigh-deep in today, sand grinding in soft folds of skin behind your knees until pearls sprout from between your toes.

laugh tracks shattering rain. knowing what you feel like in my arms before it happens. monster-hunting on projector screens. cartwheeling across velvet curtains. a hush falling, spotlight swivelling to a still-life portrait.

J

july childhood, slanted sunlight on bare backs. dazzling lakewater shooting pain into corneas. guitar strings snapping, whip-shot, strawberry blood, orange creamsicle, callused grass, hot running glee.

a jump-started heart — rhapsodic — wheels turning down the coast to moonbeams.

G

grief like clock hands, edges dulled by the same air you breathed when you were born and died in this house. thinking in the past tense but writing in the present.

D

devout; remembrance; poetic license.

C

a coffin made from the backseat of a car, filled with tea, dipped into with porcelain cups that resurface comfortably chipped. earl grey slumber, vampiric jasmine. the way rhythm breathes life into music.

A

an arrow piercing the universe’s side.

an age when you lost time to dragging fingertips through the mist on the mirror, carving shapes you thought you invented.

an act of self love.



Grace Kwan: “I am a queer Chinese-Malaysian Canadian author and MA candidate researching how capitalist and nationalist mythologies inform the deepening precariousness of racialized workers engaged in migrant labour in North America. My debut collection of creative nonfiction stories, Prelude: & Other Stories, came out from Life Rattle Press in June 2020. My nonfiction, short fiction, and poetry have appeared in multiple anthologies and magazines, including Plenitude Magazine and Necessary Fiction.”




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