Poetry by Khaty Xiong

"Untitled, From the Series, Redoubled Something We Carry" by Jen Everett / jeneverettart.com/home.html




               In the light of my room my shadow
Its floral patterns imprinted on my shapes
        Of my insides
A secret window leading into a garden
        ranging songs accidental—
And my sadness thinner.
Of my knee and the year
               Into the cloisters of these

               The tiles beneath are
                   In repeat since the first deaths.
               And wondrous hues

        I will never be beautiful.
Cloister of traps.
        Which are again
Delicate designs.
I am taller. A blue flower
               The year familiar as peering
Backsplash tiles with text
               And I am flourishing

               Now a part of the faded tapestry
Revealing the monolithic halls
        Which could never be lit unless
Rumored to flourish—
        Regardless I am taller
A blue flower at the clip
Has disappeared again
               Delicate designs…

               A coagulated red that I have seen
                   Familiar as the greens pinks
               Of mother’s garden.

        In the light of my room.
My insides a set of halls
        Mother and father’s
Uninviting. Regardless
At the clip of my knee.
               Into a garden window
That reads upon the wondrous hues.
               In the light of my room.




The deer came home with questions
      budding on their sleeves.

            Who tamed the birds
                to stop preening
            for hellish praise?

Whose mother was it
   who whipped her crown
upon the steering wheel
            on North and Valentine?

                Whose mouth
            was whiter than stone?

The glass turned back into sand.
The sand turned its back from the body.

From above, a whisper of the scene—

A woman in the yard adoring all the hanging pears—
                her hands on their bellies
            swelling right before her eyes.




Altar Call

Way above the ashes mother is assembling in the field.
A poor hut for light of judgement. An eschewing door.

Returning in this blemish brother leaping into the air
and trapped.

                Father not yet entering the view—

The whereabouts of uncle Nyiaj still unknown
which must be peaceful. The vocal chords in pieces.

And what of cousin Maiv in her batik dress
flying through the cellars?

                Upon the altar I lay my only gift—

One iron egg in the mouth of a tiger.
Snakes in ashen script. The days.
Misfit tapestries sold by the yard.



Khaty Xiong is a Hmong American poet from Fresno, CA. She is the author of Poor Anima (Apogee Press, 2015) and three poetry chapbooks: Ode to the Far Shore (Platypus Press, 2016), Deer Hour (New Michigan Press, 2014), and Elegies (University of Montana, 2013). She has received a fellowship from MacDowell Colony and a grant from the Ohio Arts Council. Her work has been published in POETRY, the New York Times, How Do I Begin?: A Hmong American Literary Anthology, and elsewhere.