Incense, Sugar, Gold
By Michelle Lin
Our couch pennies go into the church
donation box, as if it’ll enchant
our piss into wine. My god takes
from his followers. The missionaries
slicked my mother’s hair with cow-grease.
What would have been a meal.
Like all vultures, luck is our patron
saint. My Ah Gong rubs his hands
on a plastic idol before rolling the dice.
The gulf between indoctrination
and belief is necessity.
Mother heirlooms the missionaries’ gods
because what else, what else does she have?
All sins originate between a woman's legs:
a heathen in preacher robes and the daughter it sired.
I am that daughter.
My breath, sweet as milk. I rucked a girl’s
skirt after communion class.
Lips like a rosary bead. We nurse
at the things that hurt us.
Somewhere, Ah Gong’s offerings splinter.
At my best, I am a locust omen
to my bloodline. All this glorious
filth and nowhere to absolve it.
Michelle Lin is a poet, born and raised in the buzzing metropolis of Toronto. Her work focuses on matriarchal family relations, diaspora, girlhood, and monstrosity. Michelle's spoken word poetry is featured on Button Poetry, and her other work is in The Offing and Contemporary Verse 2, among others.
Michelle recently graduated from Kenyon College, where she worked as the social media intern at The Kenyon Review.