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Gyoshoku Danshi

魚 Here’s a fish with salt

食 on his shoulder

子 the ocean’s best

tasting son. His meat

a test of stamina

in a city ceramic.


by glowing Fukushima

plumes. Waiting

for low tide with

a bloated moon

on his back.

I’ve been grilled

over my own


I’ve been

my own patch

of drought grass

seams split by

someone else’s


The serrated edge

of patience

and my belly its


After this, I have no guts

to tie, no sausage joy.

I’ll drive your bus

into the barbeque

pit and burn clean

through the bones

your true-blue

dinosaur charcoal.

Wrap yourself in sugar


You’re encrusted with tacks.

With snacks.

I’m here to write

a different man.

Shouldn’t we taste like

warm, milky milk?

Drift into me

fish. I’m the sweetest

seaweed you’ll ever

lick. Your devoted

brackish coil of stars.

Your boss radio signal


galactic north.

from Monsters I Have BeenFind more by Kenji C. Liu at the library

Copyright © 2019 Kenji C. Liu
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.

Published in Kenji C. Liu Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.