help, I’ve locked myself inside the moon
I tried to toss the ocean inside of a message bottle,
but the cork popped like New Year’s, and moon is whom
I had to answer to. oops. at least her insides are made
of blue cheese. so those who thought you could eat
the moon were right, but you can only eat her insides.
this is the part where you think about what’s eating
on your insides, low self-esteem cockroaching about
the low tides of your bloodstream. I’m sorry. just a little.
this isn’t an apology because I still believe I did nothing
wrong. I pondered how strange it was that all the oceans
belonged to land, so if there was no ocean for the lands to
claim, then there’d just be more land covered in coral
skeletons and fish bones. do you still want it, I’d ask
as I wave around my ocean-bottle. which lands will get
these salt-dead sands, who decides where borders are drawn
with squid ink and crushed sea shells. tell me, what language
does the dead speak after it has died? if I am going to die here,
alone in this blue cheese moon, will the moon speak for me
or will someone else from somewhere else spoon words
into my funky marbled corpse and pretend there’s a heart still
beating? anyways. I’m not saying that you have to, or anyone
has to, but I’d appreciate some help exiting the moon’s interior.
maybe if you come, it’d boost your self esteem and all the cock-
roaches will become turtles? I don’t have cash, but I can pay in cheese.
I've never had a melon bread, but at least I've held a tortoise
while my poet friend contemplates shards of mirror and their silvery panes upon pain
I google melon bread just to see the blockiness of katakana on the title of the first recipe
and then I google baby sulcata tortoises because their perfectly crisp scores equate to the brown
of a visual crunch. I taste crumbs in my mouth through my menstrual dehydration, my body
a desert. I have so much admiration for those animals who live in the desert, like camels
that are able to siphon more than fifty gallons of water into their hairy hilly bodies within
three minutes. as I sip my water, crunch on the ice, I wonder what their atoms remember.
what skies they’ve rained upon, whose intestines they’ve trickled through. do they remember
being beautiful and teasing the light into rainbows, slipping through the flap of minnows’ gills,
steaming onto a hotel mirror hours before a bride meets her bride. her feet won’t sweat in her
heels because she’s stumbled blindly through her whole life to be able to walk straight down
the aisle to her love without her glasses slipping down her beaming face. I’ve never been to
a wedding but that will change within weeks. I’ll never have a wedding, but considering its
future absence and the empty space I could fill like a bookshelf fills me with victory. instead
I recall my one-time-partner on our one-day-date where she came over and we made milk
bread. I called it shokupan, but not in front of her. when she told me to knead the dough, I made
quiet whooping noises as I tossed the sticky mass from hand to hand, squished it between my
fingers, slammed it onto the floured cutting board. I gently stroked the back of it like a baby
tortoise shell—gentle and careful so that jostling wouldn’t make it pee. she commented on
my technique by not saying anything but my turn and deftly shaping the dough into a circle.
while it rose in my fridge we rose from my bean bag and stood in line at Daiso, where I beeped
and bopped. I wish I could’ve seen my beaming face beneath my mask when she told me I
have great uwu energy. even though we don’t talk it’s weird to say I miss her when we
follow each other on twitter and like tweets about eggs with kawaii faces. no one else
has made bread with me. no one else’s bread tasted like hers. I pass by the Japanese bakery
every time I visit Japantown. I’ve never stopped, but sometimes I make beeping noises
underneath my mask. when I stand in line at Daiso I think about how bread feels while
it’s rising, how much space within it isn’t bread but we still perceive as bread. my bookshelf
is full, but I’m sure I can find space for recipe books I’ll never read or even cook from. authors
like Jet Tila and Geoffrey Zakarian who use ingredients like soy and mirin and clarified butter
with their perfect pink chicken breasts. while watching Geoffery make risotto on Instagram,
I wonder if he’s ever made melon bread. if he thinks about tortoises while he bakes bread.
Hikari Leilani Miya is a Japanese Filipina American, 2019 Cornell University English major graduate, and a current poetry MFA candidate at the University of San Francisco who identifies with the LGBTQ community. She is the assistant poetry editor for USFCA’s literary magazine, Invisible City. She has publications in Macguffin, Litbreak, San Francisco City College’s Forum, Jet Fuel Magazine, Cornell University’s Writer’s Bloc, Canadian magazine Fleas on the Dog, and her poetry has appeared in the Johnson Art Museum at Cornell University. She currently lives with her two snakes and disabled cat, but has a menagerie of other pets at home in the Central Valley of California. She is a behavioral therapist and clinical lead for children with autism, pianist, percussionist, and music arranger, as well as a competitive card game player.