Katy Hargett-Hsu



before I got here         I was a morbid essay    though writing occupies me well enough

                                                                    [              before it crushes under the weight of itself     ]

he [psychiatrist] doesn’t believe women’s pain             ready for the worst         scrapes out the bog

                                                                    [              how would you rate your pain on a scale of     ]

the situation, then: to go bash the impression that my nerves were the bog

                                                                    [                         I just don’t try to be happy                        ]

coming out of bog      bog occupying body                body as allegory to implode

                                                                    [I was before & coming out of numbness, wanting       ]

a clap                 an on-off switch          chalk to the scrape       the guts to do it

                                                                    [                         by god I’ll scrape out of this year             ]

the bog              my remembered life: stalling     the slow calcification of


what’s going to happen next?

                                            [                          debrief me                             ]

undress a moment      at the mouth

without much adornment

                                            [          clean & minimal as a hatchet            ]

gone now          blood & fire in a cup

curtain drawn

                                            [             my face a forensic detail                 ]

yep         everything is fine!

I want a party!                 gown & tie

quiet, clean         in a little nondescript house

                                            [                for medical & forensic purposes]

what a wish

                                            to be alone

                                            [ & everything

slinging the mouth—                                                                                   ] 


                                           I like being external

taking off my shirt          all clear from

bronze-stained cold

call me love                     take my perpetual

infantilized hook             I’m fragile on my own

I get petulant                   trusted to a herd

a little kid                          tapping the prize

God knows                       I’ve got to steal

while everybody              looks away

call me                               locus of looking

call me                               wishing jaw

seeing is really just         tapping a belief

fast enough                      though practically useless


Biographical Statement:

Kathryn Hargett-Hsu 徐凯蒂 is an MFA candidate in poetry at Washington University in St. Louis. Most recently, she received the Academy of American Poets Prize and the Lynda Hull Memorial Poetry Prize. Find her in Best New Poets, Pleiades, Crazyhorse, The Margins, Salt Hill Journal, Arts & Letters, Muzzle Magazine, TaiwaneseAmerican.org, Best New Poets, Cherry Tree, and elsewhere.