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Sheila Dong

tea disservice

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once i got possessed by demons while looking inside a cabinet of antique teacups. then it was me behind the glass, my body full of unbearable noise. all the teacups were arranged with their handles on the right and a handwritten placard under each one. an eraser scalded a hole into the paper and deep space melted through: i could count the stars. in any case, i have no patience anymore for people who believe that the worst that can happen to someone is death. nor do i resent the demons. because of them, men avert their eyes. because of the heat inside me, i wander scrub-tangled wastelands without fearing nightfall. always, something floats in the air nearby. invisible and red, it sips endlessly from a teacup with a hole in the bottom.

dearest friend

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i got evil since you knew me last. blame it on some demon lodged in my gullet. ram a screwdriver in my silhouette and try to pry her out. catch the runoff in stainless dishes and watch my color drain. what’s a demon but something draped in a film so pale the eye can only see darkness? what’s a demon but something that would do anything for the pain to stop? how i loved her, fed her two spoons of hot sauce at breakfast, a crumb of uranium ore at dinner. at night she held me and told stories. my favorite ones were about the gardens in hell. they are a red echolalia, vines and limbs unfurling in shattered-disco light, drumtrack of flowers snapping the bones they emerge from. in hell the flowers are as big as churches and as strong as missiles. my demon promised by the time she was done with me, i’d bloom like that. free of fear and qualms. never a victim for as long as i lived. she promised a voice. i opened my mouth.

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