In a dream in which I am still brilliant,

by E Yeon Chang

my milk reeks of garlic, and my body
is bloated—bulked up—for the coming
winter. In this dream, my browser history
is impeccable, no Google searches
on “how much butter is too much butter”
or “interracial couple goals” or
“how to induce a miscarriage,”
not even traces of erasure. In this dream,
I ask my mother if they let bears in heaven,
and she says it would depend on the bear. I
remind her of the night I called her crying
about the boy who touched me in a way I wish
he hadn’t. She remembers. E Yeon-ah, I told you
not to dwell on such ordinary matters. In
this dream, a boy’s corpse appears. I ask
if God counts the bodies bears leave behind
against them. In this dream, my mother
looks at the body and my claws. She
takes out her nail clipper kit and says
No child, He does not.
2021 Poetry International Prize finalist
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