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Pipa pipa.


We are a creature easily

missed. Mistaken

for a dead leaf,

a strip of bark. River

bottom debris.


No tongue. No teeth. 

We deny our smart mouth,

swallow retorts. Sweep slights

and slurs into our gullet with star

-fingered hands.


Pipa pipa.


Words hurled in the schoolyard.

Chink. Jap. Paki. Try again.

Years later different

spaces, the same words

muttered, hissed.

Scornful faces red



So many things seething

beneath the surface.

What happens when we’ve

had enough?

What happens when we

breach this prison

of skin?


Pipa pipa.