Rachel Lee

Cultural Experience: Enjoying Korean Fried Chicken

A treestring of chicken bones in the carton—
crunching dangling cartilage clean off, they say
those who fall must have wings. And then strip
metacarpus, now breaking backwards, lift skein
of skin off the seams. It seems now yesterday
they scraped that twenty-two storey child, seen
flown down the window, off these bloodglass streets.
Flabby bonecrunch, same dent on the skeleton, same
bird body but whose wings? Come, come with me,
slide off your seat with the batter, we’ll baste these
cuttered chicks. One dollop of drip glue, three
full-grown plumes, seven and twenty-one streams.
The carrion are here now, snaked out the doorhall,
kill time for their wattled wings. They once had
redwings, deadwings, lichenfernwings,
diaphanous, silver, wormintheduckwings and
then nothing. Nothings and nowings. Yet
here they are, still putrid flesh standing
in line. O, what a chain of longing.


Field Notes on Alcohol Use Disorder

i am awake       our feet drag bulging calves in circles
bigger than the ones before them       rainsoaked sneakers and spattered thighs

or lips numb from winter wind                   sit me sighing by the glowing heater
with dried squid and shrimp crackers       in neon darkness sing bullshit belt dog noises

two-fifty won apiece       the rising scent of spirits draws meat
from blood and sinew comes the nightwolf       paws at a past it doesn’t reach

mashes go f uck datboi huge d  I ck       stumblestrumblessorryambadpersonsleep
hello? why aren’t you picking up?       i’m waiting at gaehwa station

a woman sniffing at snapdragon buds in the dark       just bloody bloom already
11 30 pm: all the lamps in the park let out       the city in the distance splinking

i am still waiting at gaehwa station       why am i still here?
we aren’t at all going in the same direction       for insensate dreams

dial ‘1’ or text       don’t thi nk u’ll make it wriitng lit take cr8tvty
the nightwolf thrashes a barbed melancholy in the sheets       if you can’t sleep, stay awake

a woman splits open a cushion compact (Laneige, N. 21, Beige)       presses puff against skin
stay awake and read with me       it says wolves and dogs have the same ancestors

does it matter which       i say you are?

the morning is amber-yolk and cotton-orange       colors bounce off the balcony
a woman (the same one from before?) dips faintly into a pot of bronze shadow

you dog you fucking dogbrat


Rachel Kuanneng Lee is a poet currently developing her writing with the Brooklyn Poets Mentorship Program. Her work appears in or is forthcoming at wildness, carte blanche, DIALOGIST, trampset, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, Cotton Xenomorph, Sweet Lit, Sky Island Journal, and elsewhere. She was a finalist for the Live Canon 2020 competition and is a Brooklyn Poets Fellow. She is also co-founder of a data science startup and hopes that someday, she might be able to make a coherent narrative out of her career choices, even if today is not quite that day. You can find her online at rachel-lee.me.