Trigger Warning: allusions to suicide and death
baba and i fought last night, & i wondered how i could hurt him to make him understand my
pain. i wondered if i could hurt him by hurting myself & all the things he loved: diet coke &
skinny-waisted women who still have their youth, unlike mama.
i asked baba if society was broken & baba said society is working just the way it’s supposed to &
james dimon attends a house hearing, sly-grinned and perfumed with parasitic vines &
somewhere in this dirt-filled country—because it’s all just dirt, isn’t it?—a mother breastfeeds
her screaming baby and chooses rent over food again, her perfect malnourished body tipping
under the hundred-pound mark & baba suggests she get another job, because men like him would
love skinny waists like hers, wouldn’t they?
everyone has struggles, and we have to be practical, baba says, & baba is right.
& some of us are lucky enough to be here today, still struggling, still fighting. others—wounded
soldiers, flying high, sky high, for us—never got the chance. & death comes, but i’m sorry to say
that a seventeen-year-old shouldn’t die,
& money, still god, denotes who lives and who dies, like god; tethered to its whims and fancies,
we sacrifice our bodies and minds to be saved, hoping it spares our souls,
& men can live through women’s bodies all the same; dye hair beach-sand blonde, strip
sun-tanned waists down to their skin and bones, hyperfeminine moans the little bit of power, of
selfhood she can hold onto,
struggles bore our names long before we did, but baba, struggles bore our names long before you
David Chen is a Chinese-American writer from Minnesota. His work has been recognized nationally by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and YoungArts, and is in or forthcoming at Kissing Dynamite, the Blue Marble Review, the Renaissance Review, the Lunar Journal, and elsewhere. He is also a co-EiC of Aster Lit, and you can find him at @davidsongchen on both Twitter and Instagram.