Not the stranger that set the ships alight but the ruddy woman waiting back home for it all to end twenty years later alive and still flinching at the sight of a perfect streetlight casting shadows in the room o invite yourselves in o please I say to any stranger who leans too close so afraid of being impolite while sticky-lipgloss-folly passes me by no all that transpires all that stings is the hair that grows back thorny after the razor culls it what a thing it is to have a body and to get rid of its little pieces like how I’d watch him shave how he’d hunch over the sink and slice sharp all his softness like nothing but his own reflection mattered just eyes in eyes in eyes o i am fascinated by men and their unafraid clutch on the blade while I fumble overandover and I cut myself today plucking my eyebrows just a tiny sliver a pinking of skin just enough for a red ripe swell of blood to emerge barely the size of a pinhead or a child’s fingernail but it was enough it was enough o and I said yes I said yes I said yes.


Cadence Chung is a poet, student, composer, and musician from Te-Whanganui-a-Tara | Wellington, currently studying at the New Zealand School of Music. Her debut poetry book anomalia was published in April 2022 with Tender Press.