Dostoevsky said sinners stink:

   the natural deodorant companies’ dilemma


We scold             the Major-lieutenant’s sour lust for Lolitas


 while we smear            bergamot & teatree,

      powder pits

        in charcoal and arrowroot.   


Dealing blackjack on a tombstone,

  can’t we demand respect beneath topsoil too?


After kowtow-tow-towing

to Grandpa                   (he smelled like dried apricots)


on that mosquito-laden mountain,

   I smushed my flip-flop


on his neighbor’s allotted square

of grass                                      and whispered               sorry.


    Energy, ants, and socks

can be neither destroyed nor created:

only lost, regrouped,     or stolen.


Notice how Grandpa dreamcalled the unblooded aunt

 (my favorite story)

     ­—the money thief

     of a reptilian complexion——


     one day before the service.

                                                                       I’m so cold, he confesses.


The next morning, they gathered


     around polished cedar and after lifting the lid,


found Grandpa                     in his socks.


I understand him,        the ex-general:


   and Dyatlov Pass taught me,


   everything is                  strategic

   nothing,                           snow hides.


When I pass,                    stuff my shirt with potpourri

   (just in case)

and maybe I’ll remember

how to confront an opening.

A Weekend in Dublin



Whittle   my     tongue    to    the    roof   of     your   mouth/cells   in
conversation/ anticipating  signals, currents/as permanent as a fig
tree   or   drops  on    slanted   window-pane/I  ask:   what   do   you
want/crude  oil  over  stale  milk/knotted tofu over  slipped  mung
bean curd/push-pull: a palm, a base into another/skull sunken/


thank  god  for  the  lilt  of a   limerick/for June Jordan/thank  god I
share  my fridge  with  someone  else/thank god  you haven’t  read
Bulgakov/stranger to Behemoth/thank god a body warms alone/a
body writhes  in its own   lining,  duvet sleeve, drywall/thank  god a
body can’t dangle  the thin strings/fishing wire  of  magistrates  and
mirrors/thank   god/a body  only flails  against whip & lash/against
rip   &  current/all   one   needs   in   an   invitation:  a sigh, a glass of
water, a curtain velcro, a blend of acrylic, and a good tailor.

Vivian Jiang is a Chinese-American poet from Long Island, New York who is currently based in Brussels, Belgium. She has works published in the lickety~split, Marginalia Review, Rainy Day Magazine, and Sink Hollow.