Literary Orphans

Two Poems by Michael Chang


and you issey miyake


I’m going under, and this time, I fear there’s no one to save me”—Lewis Capaldi, Someone You Loved

Learn to take it / or you’ll always be alone”—Aaron Smith, Primer




my little lamb

pale as milk

my haunted object

bashful confidence

dimples blazing

hang out with me forever

black confetti raining down

the rooms in my heart flooding


there is apparently a real town called

truth or consequences nm

i saw it in someone’s bio

he splits his time between new york city & the french riviera

i split my time between the truth & trifling of boys

between sweettarts & house-brand grape soda



Pull the heavy curtains shut

I think we’re finally speaking the same language


You talk a good game

Fall flat like the Obamacare website


Battle cry of dating-app boasts

Blaze forth destroying oceans


You ejaculate precious stones onto my belly

I’m blinded by stardust


I cut you open & pearls fall out

Engorged & glistening


For days I lick them clean

Put them to my ear


Trying to discern their howls & echoes

You just sat there & ate your food


You scooped me clean of liquid courage

Golden beams of light


Tipped your head back

Wept in black & white


Your kisses tasting like jelly

Thighs feeling like Tibetan Yak


Waves crashing against my

Rocky shore


Shooting me with your feathers

Falling luminescent black and blue


Rolling over in my chest

Is that how they built the pyramids


You say I’m the oil for your lantern

I’m all the different knots you learned in Scouts


We are safe

We are safe


I yield

I yield



O Typekey Divider


america’s sweetheart


is Brett a human boy with sneakers and a best friend named Tate or Donovan or Tate Donovan and a cat named PJ who thinks self-driving cars are the future who is into sports but doesn’t talk about it incessantly and watches porn but nothing too kinky Brett in Poli Sci class who skips an exam to go to Hersheypark where he inevitably has his hand up the skirt of some unsuspecting girl who thinks she has found the one and perfect to bring home to her family in Swarthmore and hair like J.Crew model circa 2008 and like the chick in Umbrella Academy who can make people do things Brett knows he’s cute with an unassuming floppy brown mop that could easily be a fashion haircut that is conservative yet modern and slick and clean and costs more than John Edwards’ or AOC’s and could independently take over a motel in Iowa Young Brett with his birthright citizenship and Fourteenth Amendment protections he never really needs and always treats other people with respect and never accidentally replies-all with something indecent or inappropriate so PC principal never has to say shit Brett who orders a Tito’s and soda though the restaurant doesn’t serve hard liquor and yet the mousy waitress scrambles to go someplace sketchy on Sixth Avenue to get it so Brett is happy though he never throws a tantrum in public but she doesn’t know that Brett is an undecided voter


O Typekey Divider

MICHAEL CHANG (they/them) is the proud recipient of fellowships from Lambda Literary, Lighthouse Writers Workshop, Brooklyn Poets, & the Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing. Their writing has been published or is forthcoming in the Cincinnati Review, Summerset Review, Vassar Review, Minnesota Review, Santa Clara Review, Ninth Letter, Hobart, Harpur Palate, Poet Lore, The Nervous Breakdown, & many others. Their collection <golden fleece> was a finalist for the Iowa Review Award in Poetry.

O Typekey Divider

–Art by Mick McClelland