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Annie Fan


from tan coleen


Tan measures his existence in egg yolks:

He says mornings,
she’d miss

                        the alarm, awake,
                 nitpick & shout – 

                                        Tan cracks eggs
                                        to make dying moons
in shapes
pushed under skin
                                    and shuts his eyes–
                                                again, like yesterday:

halflight night
            when he didn’t sleep or bleed below skin.
His: creeled ghost. Mine, fetal curd,
            evicted to knit a bone’s lip shut, 
same way as my skull – when I was six, 
            I ran. I am, became, now, the last
            twist of his palebleach wrists; 
I let him do the breaking alone,
            let Tan peel her muscles apart – scars
disintegrating heavy, sunlight
            to hollow. Frayed, until the mother he loved,
faded like bruises
            I told him to forget to kiss––
we don’t talk, but push bread
            through circles of yolk. 
Waiting, and holding back
            everything I haven’t put into
            Sorry Mrs. Coleen
        Sorry Mrs. Coleen




                                                               Tan stuffed rocks into his father’s briefcase

                                                                                                             and told me: not-quite-
                                                                                                 -adults age but his father grew
                                                          in reverse, was nothing more than two
                                                                                       pounds of mint mouthwash and pilled felt.
                                           Died packing his papers,
                                      packing his papers; they had no body to bury, forgot
                                                          his voice at the eulogy.  
                                        a father so flipped, knowing him
                                   meant shrinking and disapperaring, with
                                                      the stuffable things. Packed up his papers except for
                                                                                                                his shoebox, inside: mercury,
                                                                                                                           small flies;
                                                                                                                                                         her. photos                                                                                                                                                                 peroxide blonde,
                                                                              silver bromide, copper mirror, daguerreo-
                                                                                                          -type & gelatine. Her mouth
                                                                                           filled with his tie. funny
                                                   how I only lived with him;
                           bruised his ribs apart until
                                 oxygen knit the places
                                                where our bodies didn’t connect – 
                                                                                                                        Tan forgets.
                                                                                (hid it and buried the rest of them)




Tan takes me backpack shopping to invent new deaths;

says he wants to go back to school, first
            folders, then partitions for the paper,
                                                (but not a briefcase)
            pencils for words –– don’t talk to me,
                        but wash the sheets blank in bleach, while
                                                I knock out teeth, malthusian –
            I’m a fiend. He said into his wrists:
                                    because I want to write you like somebody learning
                                                to breathe by dividing air into bites,
                                    instant-nows without mincing.

                                                I vow to never touch inner words
on the highway back to his,
            five-point sun hurtling–
towards my head as
            his mother hums “I just really, really, really like you-”
I know she’ll fly, hit
                                    tilt, bite
                                                            my neck against hers,
                                                            my lips, until they bloat
                                                                        like choked meat
                                                                                    too bruised not to
                                                                        I push my head up and look
                                                                        at her wet,
                                                                        near-spaced eyes. We’ll
                        make our tears manifolds
                        and she’ll sing
                                                                        I know it
                                                                        I know it
                                                                        I know it.

                                                                                    (Please; tell me what you love)






Annie Fan is a renegade high-schooler, nitpicky linguist, and was a Foyle Young Poet in 2015. Her work is either stuck to the fridge or her hair or published in the Blueshift Journal, Yellow Chair Review and CALLISTO, among others. She is a prose editor at TRACK//FOUR.