This April, to recognize and honor National Poetry Month, we curated a folio of poems by 10 Asian American high school students. This page features Olivia Hu's "I Swallow a Nest." We invite you to take a moment to read the other nine poems in this collection here.
— Marci Calabretta Cancio-Bello, Poetry Editor
I Swallow a Nest
my limbs a pendulum I lose teeth for every word
I say my carcass they call desire taxidermied eyes:
my shadow I linger behind these bones I face away
from you this is to say: my body is incomplete
I reach into my mouth & find two tongues the first
already lacerated into stone I move more primal
than you would expect back arching into an incision
abdomen mirroring a choleric eye yesterday my hair
unravelled from the string grew pink canines
I am always half feral tomorrow I will water my carnations
with gin I button away hunger starve for light outside:
small birds tie themselves to my gums I swallow a nest
About this Poem:
This piece explores the concept that poetry/art must be understood. The surrealist, erratic nature of "I Swallow a Nest" is intentionally difficult to follow — so much so that its meaning becomes mangled in a turmoil of corporeal imagery, not unlike the nature of mental illness that it seeks to capture.
This piece was published as part of the April Youth Poetry Folio. To see other works from the folio, please visit the table of contents here.