A Poem by Christine Shan Shan Hou



We made collages

Orchid hats with little plum mouths

Waxy arms bending towards hips

Dancers in wide white pants

Gallantly walking towards the park

My memories of summer unwinding

Meticulous spinning

Cayuga Way, Keats Road…

Driving from one dead person to another

The circle rotating, creating an endless blue vacuum

Is it a secret hiding place?

What is there under your wallpaper?

A private beach?

An almond croissant?


You belong in the most secret part of you

Everything else is reckless—dreamless, plastic and nostalgic

Fern fronds unfurling

Marzipan cats marching

Readers snapping their beaks all the while walking

“ Jabbering event” being the wrong words for the occasion

More about intertwining

The lacking of place

With its crumbling corners and billowy composites

Impregnated with blue for swimming pools

Save the greens for garnishes


I remember a bulbous hornet’ s nest

Hanging from the side porch light

Trumping sentimentality like an alien

The semi-solution was to go inside

A private encounter

An evening of philosophical toys

(Everyone cranked until their arms were sore!)

Despite the lack of kitchen space

There were garlic cloves and onions hanging in dainty nets

Spoons with tiny holes filled with vodka

Modestly drooping houseplants

My sex swaying and swaggering

It’ s hard to live in another person’ s context

Let alone like a recluse in a pastry shell


This is my feel-good position and this my feelie bag

If the cinematic impression escapes you

Hold the onion tightly against your chest when taking the train back

Whilst the engine slowly husks away at the horizon

However temporary or utopian it may be

Odd plaster shapes piled up to the sky

Even odder, today is the hottest day of the year

But my goal is to surrender

My body an unwieldy pedestal with eyebrows overgrown

Like the wildflowers on Antelope Island



Christine Hou is a poet and arts writer living in Brooklyn, NY. Publication Studio published her first book of poetry, Accumulations in 2010. Additional poems appear in WeekdayParallelograms, and The Brooklyn Rail. She currently runs the New York City arts education programs at Dia Art Foundation and is a dance critic for The Brooklyn Rail.

Leave a Reply