Franny Choi


One day, she wakes up
buried in a well.

The well is
her heart beat. It rings
the stones. The stones
are crumbling too slowly
for anyone to notice.
The sky is a distant moon,
a memory. She forgets
her own name. Her name
is Dark-Drinker. Bone-Wife.
She marries the dust.
The dust is a boy who fell.
A boy is like a memory
but heavier. Memories
crawl over her hands.
She has too many hands.
She is all open mouth
asking for night. The night
is asking her to stay.
She stays.




She is a cat that can’t stop coughing up dead things,
hiding them in everyone’s shoes, all the teeth
she’s ever swallowed stampeding into woodchippers,
hacking up balls of tangled wire, spiked mirrors,
a still-twitching chicken heart, a broken mug handle –
all the hoarded bottom-drawer shards making friction,
waiting for the wind to turn, for the frog in her stomach
to burst, coat her mouth with its ruin. Beneath every swallow,
always the threat of bile, always the choice to
summon the storms, to drown the room
in her unforgiving shame.




Once as a child, she stared into a mirror for hours.
For hours, a hollow alien stared back. Skin tight

over bone over eyes, a hide to dry
in the sun. Who are you she mouthed.

Who are you who are you who are you
echoed the stranger a half-step ahead.

She said I am but already the other
was warbling I am iamiamiamiam

and she said Go back to where you came from
and the alien was laughing and laughing and tears

sailed down, down the glass because
she could not recognize her own memories,

her own memories from the colors painted
in her skin, in the glass, in her skin.




Every day, the sun swings back into place
to fill her hands with the answer
to something.

On Monday, it says, “yes.”

On Tuesday, it adds, “to be happy.”

On Wednesday, “made of glass.”

On Thursday, “whose wings.”

On Friday, “atmosphere and salt.”

On Saturday, “of emptying.”

On Sunday, “the curtain.”

On Monday, “dead, and.”

These answers
lie flat against one
another, never quite touching,
a badly-tuned choir all shouting
at once. God is
a distracted hedonist.
She is running
out of hearts.




After the rats fled,
the quiet kept her awake
all night.

She panicked:

What if the skeletons stop singing my name?
What if my heart goes deaf?
What if sadness is the secret
to everything?

Then, dawn crept into her room
and the birds sang her to sleep.



Franny Choi is a poet, performer, and Pushcart-nominated fiction writer. Her debut collection of poems, Floating, Brilliant, Gone, will be released on Write Bloody Publishing in March 2014. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry, Fringe, CAP, Apogee, and others. In 2011, her play Mask Dances was staged for Brown University’s Write is Live Festival. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island with her friends and an avocado tree.

GestureFranny Choi