Hot Metal Bridge

Current Issue : Number Twenty-Five

Elevator Music for a Frog


At the bottom of the birdbath is a spigot
full of brandy. You are fog-kissed frog
king & I am lovelier but lonelier. Less princess
than mutant, I can’t return your gaze. Instead,
let’s compete for hunger: whomever’s satisfied
loses. You, pellucid & fat with dragonflies.
Appetite, appetite, who wants a slipshod
stomach. I am bored to my ears with green
balloons. What do I covet? Vivisection.
I want something poisoned to unpeel
me. My overripe dress crushed in the bathtub.
Every bone’s a bedpost: discolored maquetry.
I the winner, provocateur locked in sad princess
basement. Wurlitzers eat my nail clippings.
Sonograms map my lesser limbs. Oh, handsome:
you grin the grin of a sledgehammer.
Is it because the rain beats without ceremony.
Is it because sorry is mincemeat & rotted
tubers. Is it because this is a song of unsaving.

Sally Wen Mao is a Kundiman fellow pursuing her MFA at Cornell University. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Cream City Review, Drunken Boat, Gulf Coast, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Post Road, Sycamore Review, and West Branch. She likes trees, rivers, and mangoes.