The Sign for “Killing” is One Hand Sliding Beneath the Other: The Ballad of Haruna Yukawa
You are told that you are not a flower
You are convinced you are the reincarnation
of a Japanese female spy in World War II
The one question you could not answer:
WHY ARE YOU HERE?
Even the oddest situation produces a desert
But what if you become a bargaining chip?
Save yourself, don’t save yourself
Your mother is waiting for you
An authentic experience of burning
Pieces of the ceiling come crashing down
and fall into the angry mob
before turning into mud
Still you do not blink in the mirror
of men and women in an assembly line
Moving their limbs in unison
They bulge harmonious inside a white factory
Plotting a land without masculinity
A cloud passes by and is quickly snorted
That’s when you begin to shrink
You could not stop shaking
You feel betrayed when the season changes
A stone’s throw from the fence
The woman you thought you were disappeared into the desk
Only the sweater remains
The device will duplicate your mind and place it into an egg
Yet you fear the thinness of being
The look on your face is the constraint
Of your face
One sex a day for the rest of the days
Flirting mindlessly into the desert
Sand flits across your face
You cannot shake off what you think happened to you
So you swallow the marriage whole
Fallopian tubes bloom in your abandoned bedroom
A silk rope slides out of your window
A corpse slides underneath a rock
White fence slowly makes its way around the house
with green curtains
Behind, a girl methodically strokes herself in the bay window
You are inconsolably tied to your journey
Like a cat with a dead bird tied around its neck
If you don’t talk about something
it doesn’t exist
Just like the olden days
when you used to wake up
next to your wife and peered
with one eye into the wood
Re-crystallization is an Act of Division, Welcome to the Divided Self
Do you need a voice of soft reason?
Try mystical persuasion
Act like a nun in the presence of elders.
Act without acting out.
I am an anima woman
I am young and pliable
I flower into the strangeness of myself
Voluptuous sea creature
divine in theory, but beached and about to explode
on the shorelines of Northern Canada
Where my cousins hide
in a remote cabin by a lake.
You step into the cabin but leave your wings
You are whole
You were never whole
You are partially whole
You are one-third whole
You are whole-hearted.
You are sewed into your clothes
You are the memory of the echo of God’s voice
when He says: GO TO HELL.
A scattering soul needs a variety of small devices.
Wires, rather miracles, connect children
to dark systems.
Electricity comes into them
And still they do not bend.
Crying is part of it.
Self-control is part of it
The mind-cure movement is part of it
THAT WHICH MEN LIVE FOR is part of it
but demonstrates poor alignment
Exercise self-control when walking towards men.
The power of suggestion is a wet blanket
eating itself out.
Hastily, I vacuum the flower from the stem
Suck the snail from the shell
Take, take, take
My friend streams forth from the television
and holds a mirror to the divided self
Our potential love affair ends the conversation
So I re-crystallize myself around this moment
And the conversation becomes general.
My cousin, my friend, I believe you are an angel too.
I believe you are put on this earth to frighten the wolves
I BELIEVE GOD HEARS YOU.
You are small.
You are small like dust in all the small places.
Christine Shan Shan Hou is a poet and artist based in Brooklyn, NY. Her publications include Accumulations (
Fanzine’s Fall poetry editor is Julia Cohen. Her most recent book is a hybrid collection of lyric essays, I Was Not Born (Noemi Press, 2014). Her other books are Collateral Light (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2014) and Triggermoon Triggermoon (Black Lawrence Press, 2011). Her work appears in journals like DIAGRAM, Colorado Review, Entropy, The Destroyer, and Kenyon Review Online. She’s currently translating with Jens Bjering the Danish poet Theis Ørntoft. She lives in Chicago and is looking for snow pants.