Chris Tse

Five ways of looking at yourself in a cracked mirror

1.

spot what is human

and what is super-

human / a distinction

that could lead

to a series of mis-

understandings

/

I searched under

marked paths for what is

beyond parallel / If

every timeline asked

you to jump would you?

2.

the end is set in motion

by a secret traded

for a promise

to be much more

than what I can offer

I’m too willing

to tighten my grip on

a facade / I become

my own downfall

in a time of need

3.

made a note

to unlearn your name

but you kept breaking

into my house at night

to play me the sound of

a city disintegrating

sweeping all

recognition of real

into an endless

in-between

don’t break my heart

with that slow song

use a bulldozer

use all the fire in the world

to start again

from fresh wreckage

and hold yourself

accountable for

what we had that’s

now unidentifiable

4.

skin gone wild in

the colourless night

I asked you to give

me assurance but

you said / There’s no

need for safety nets

just a good and

simple life unburdened

by anticipation / and so

my skin kept burning

5.

the pieces that make up

every single origin story

were deposited crumb by crumb by a nameless god

or one of our past mistakes

now we scrape them

a shallow excavation

the size of banned lollies

infinitely recycled

from cinema floors

tiny crimson wounds

sweet choking hazards

designed to remind us of our learned hopelessness

we could run for miles

reasons to doubt our own strength

and still stumble upon

light split

from everything familiar

Chris Tse is the author of How to be Dead in a Year of Snakes and HE’S SO MASC. He and Emma Barnes are the co-editors of Out Here: An anthology of Takatāpui and LGBTQIA+ writers from Aotearoa. His third collection, Super Model Minority, will be published by AUP in early 2022.

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By Chris Tse

is the author of How to be Dead in a Year of Snakes and HE’S SO MASC. He and Emma Barnes are the co-editors of Out Here: An anthology of Takatāpui and LGBTQIA+ writers from Aotearoa. His third collection, Super Model Minority, will be published by AUP in early 2022.