APRIL POETRY: "I Swallow a Nest" by Olivia Hu

Curated as part of the Youth Poetry Folio for National Poetry Month
March 22, 2019

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.

Contributor: 

Olivia Hu

Olivia Hu is a poet based in Vancouver, Canada. She has published work in journals such as Glass Poetry Press, Tinderbox, Cleaver, Barking Sycamores, Red Paint Hill Press, Cadaverine, Eunoia, After the Pause, Crab Fat Magazine, among others. She is the author of the micro-chapbook Ocean's Children (Platypus Press 2016), a Best New Poets Nominee (2018), a Best of Net Nominee (2018), a Foyle Young Poet of the Year and an Orison Anthology of Poetry Finalist via American Journal of Poetry.

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