By: Ziyi Yan

Mmm, you are a distracted assent, you coat like cold sweat,
like contented sleep.

And then you are songless– muh like mundane, buzzing of the lampshade fibers,
from the lamplight flicker.

A raise of the eyebrows, and you could be
mine. But I lie and shut my eyelids.
My tongue fondles my teeth
in the shape of you, magician, I roll you over, arms numb, feeling for the parts of me that are still
part of me.

Mudge, like orange sunrise you birth a smile–
tongue cupped as if holding an ice cube, still scared of a brain freeze. Kill the part of you that’s
mud. Kill it in the fire?

You could be
machine but I call you magi–
like the squeal of every door hinge, jerked open from one syllable to the
I open you up and there’s nothing to love. I open the makeup box instead, clatter lipstick like barbie limbs–
you are the squeal of a wooden box
after shoving the legs in a hidden chamber and sawing the girl in half with the hard c of cut– now,
you are magic.

Yet replace the c with shhhh.
A hush over the audience, a well greased sliding door,

closing. The shower runs like dominoes clattering too quickly, trampling the nervous tap of soapy hands
that try to piece me together–
They can’t catch me, I’ll beat them at their game.

Yet add uhhh, a shaky step into the cold,
body refracted in three mirrors, muscle etched like grid lines.
I draw a maze through them, and only you know I’m nowhere inside it anymore.

You end in
shun but sound
so much like an embrace.

You beg to shut like a front door, yet I’ll make your name elide–
into something: maybe
Magicianaut, like astronauts,
names are weightless so let them stab, the blood can leach out
the back.

you are the sound of sunburnt snow, crunching. I’ll trample you under my boots,
I am nothing if not my own magician.

And even as I spit you out I keep you to myself. You are the only name I can swallow lately, magician,
I melt you like rice paper,
magiciannnnn, even you
cannot touch me.