michelle lin

Child ten-sided die and a dream,
I rolled my own bones in the dungeon,
sidewalked out my home tiled high

as ladders or snakes. In round six, I
unbuckled my body. Like cats they explained,
but I draw NO across the stoop in chalk.

If it is a game, I am remade underside,
trick card with too many hearts,
theater knife and five slumbering sheep.

I hopscotch lava and hold their queen
just out of reach, and without sleep.
Survived until I didn’t, tallying two hundred

tongues in myself. Because I come from
everything. Because I looked into
their eyes, again, and rolled. Two hundred

tongues and I do not speak
to them. Two hundred realities
in which I wear gold dresses.


Michelle Lin is a poet, community arts organizer, and author of A House Made of Water (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2017), an examination of sisterhood, trauma, and survival.  She is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh’s MFA program and of the University of California Riverside’s Creative Writing program. She is a Kundiman fellow, and a lead organizer for Kearny Street Workshop’s reading series, KSW Presents. Her most recent work can be found in Underblong, The Margins, and HEArt.