Love by Tina Chang

I am haunted by how much our mothers do not know.
How a republic falls because of its backhanded deals,
stairwell secrets. My mother does not know I am lying
with a man who is darker than me, that we do not
have names for how we truly treat our bodies.
What we do with them. The other possesses me.
Without him the perception of me fails to exist.
My mother now is taking her sheers and cutting
through live shrimp. When I was a child she peeled
each flushed grape until only the pale fleshy bead
remained. She placed them onto a plate in one shining
mound, deseeded, in front of me. How I sucked and bled
the fruit of all their juice, hypnotized in front of the buzz
of television in each version of my childhood. I am
her daughter. This is certain. I am lying down with a man
who is darker than me and maybe this poem is my
real republic, my face is my face, or is it stolen from
my mother and hung over mine? If I were a dream
you could say my countenance was a string of flickering lights
made of teeth or an expression unraveling like a carpet
into a narrow river of another life. Does truth matter
when it’s floating face up or face down?
The answer to this makes all the difference

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