Halfway Lunar

by Annie Cao

Based on the legend of Chang’e

Winter: the living room gleaned of moonlight.
A city slumped anemic over its knees, milky

and putrid like a wound unsutured. I used
to scrape rust from kitchen counters and drink fat

until my tongue swelled gibbous, large enough
to swallow the November sky and your rice fields

gone sour. Those nights I watched the skeleton
of a rabbit materialize in the television set, whetting

its teeth against the flotsam of your slumber:
your ribcage dipping into shadow, every joint slanted

like a knife. Today I am crimson-slick and excavated
sockets, colored soft white at the mouth like a pear

beneath sawtoothed iron. Today I am treachery’s
lovelier sister, unseaming silicon from terracotta

and looking pretty with metal pressed down
my tongue. I was hatched wide-awake from meteorite

and crescent powder with the ground halfway lunar
beneath my feet. I slip supernovas and crystallized salt

between teeth and set myself floating off-kilter,
drifting untethered from a world where men shed

their skins in and out of holiness and the earth
won’t rise without its mantle of bones.

Touch me and glisten for days on end. Watch me
spin garlands from gravity and silver-toned orbits,

fluctuating between every phase: the body
of a snow-laden goose, a tongue of light

during the eclipse. Let me
become moon-skinned, celestial—

nothing will ever hold me still.