My body is the house I haunt

Kaitlyn Airy

after Ocean Vuong

In the mouth of summer, where everything is sweet
I was a girl, living

in my mother’s house. From linen I wrung, not
water, but blood, bright

as fresh birth, heavy as wet
clouds. Even my grandmother

crawled out of her wedding day, begging
forgiveness. We laid in the prairie, the sun

having its way. What arrived some months later
rattled a tin cup. For in the mouth of summer

where everything is sweet, I was a gorgeous
mistake. At times I would paint

the most striking color; alizarin
crimson, sunshine & avarice.

While bathing in exile on the shores
of the Salish sea they say I drove him mad

with song. Usually, I don’t feel
powerful. I laughed until

I didn’t. He chased me so far even the gods
took notice. This time, I became a laurel. There

are many women. There are many
trees. Sometimes we take root. Sometimes we

bloom. We sing to bring our ghosts


Kaitlyn Airy (she/her) was raised on a small island in the Salish Sea. A Korean American poet and fiction writer, her work appears or is forthcoming in Ecotheo, Crab Creek Review, Post Road, and  Cream City Review. In 2020, she won the Phyllis L Ennes contest, hosted by the Skagit River Poetry Foundation. She is an MFA candidate in poetry at the University of Virginia.

Originally published in Moss: Volume Six.

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