– Sally Wen Mao –

                     "It’s the bloodiness of remembering
                     everything. I am bored of memory."
                                                              –Bhanu Kapil


History is a fly.
I own no flyswatter.

My apartment makes it impossible
not to daydream. What sickness,
living in these interiors:

the head a safe for forgeries,
dishes, dirty fish bowls
& torn loveseat, bloodyard

littered with daguerreotypes,
one or twelve maladies
skin creams can’t heal.



I’m not friends with my neighbors
but I like their smells: boiled kale,

raw earth. Bachelard said the house
is the refuge for a dreamer to rest.

Dear memory: stop pinning
me in my own pajamas.

I stay up all night watching television.

On the news, a girl is exhumed
from deep inside ground, swallowed

by a cenote. Another woman declared
missing but rumored to sleep with foxes.

They point at her garment, a thin silk
gauze. They blame her. Three Asian

women assaulted in the next neighborhood.
They say these aren’t hate crimes.

Amnesia must be the only cure.
Sleep comes when monkeys

amputate my memories. The perigee moon
trashes the trees. Like a werewolf,

I turn into the cenote girl
though I don’t fit in her body bag.



Killer of my senses, speak again,
remind me of the joys
of mise en abyme.

Dredge up pile on flush down. Reduce.
Spilling faucet, how all bad
memories ride on water. In the shower,

on the bed, on the shag carpet, buffalo
hide, again the convulsion,
again the turpitude, again the limb-tangle.

Daydreams, I banish you! Into
the wilderness, where the deer tremble—
Miracle of rest, miracle of muscle,

relief, relief, I invite you to come
grab me, peck out my eyes.