Kid by Erin Jin Mei O'Malley

by Leslie Anne Mcilroy

After Steve Chung

None of us have ever killed,
and somehow we’re always the ones dying.

I’m young enough to know that ritual
is only an accident

with the blood paraphrased, but I’m willing
to pardon slaughter and its sharp objects

if I, like any bad habit,
can survive for at least

another year. All I want
is to outlive my baby

fat, to cry so much
like a butcher’s animal

that they call my raw noise bleating.
When I was born, I ate every

kind of grass and grain,
even what could’ve killed me,

until someone pumped my stomach
and took me from my mother.

What I’m trying to say is
that I want to be

the only one who hurts
myself—at least until summer 

milks us all
of our unshed tears.

Photo of Erin Jin Mei O'Malley

Photo of Erin Jin Mei O'Malley

Erin Jin Mei O'Malley lives in New York. Her work appears or is forthcoming in The Ellis Review, DIALOGIST, Rust + Moth, and others. She has received a scholarship from the Lambda Literary Foundation and nominations for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. You can find her here.