Christine Shan Shan Hou

Like It Never Happened

A sculpture miraculously appears in the rafters.

An obtrusive tchotchke indicating the presence of unholy forces.

Imagine holding a miniature version of yourself tightly.

Having good intentions vs. bad intentions does not keep religious beliefs alive.

Little acrobats line up in the streets in preparation for doomsday.

Floral and vegetal forms from heaven fly over the landscape.

It is natural to be scared when teetering on the precipice of change.

It is natural to keep your refrigerator stocked with frozen dinners

Hot dogs, macaroni, turkey, peas and mashed potatoes.

Cindy says that she loves things that are magically clear.

Clarity is a moment of madness unravelling in real time in a public space.

We are all members of the public with dreadful hometowns and pathetic hearts.

We tell ourselves: Fake can be just as good! Then slink back into our pattern-seeking ways.

While contemplating whether or not to eat a clay pot, small anonymous faces appear in low reliefs around the pot’s surface.

I eat it after reading somewhere that consuming clay has major health benefits.

Recent history shows that the preservation of authenticity is a hoax and that everything is subject to change.

There are days I am so enthralled with habit that I truly cannot be bothered.

Everything is subject to turn into glass.

The warm bodies of my friends emanate golden lines like the sun.

I am wide awake.

How magnificently clear is the day.


I walk, facing forward for the first time
& see green

There is a mystery to be solved
an epiphany

a bunch of flowers
a classic chubby stick

a kidney-shaped pool
a shape that is the combination of all of those things

a shiny stone bench overseeing a small pond
an overgrowth of lily pads

What you wear can lead to your next best friend or your new career
this is called reward-based mentality

what a discovery
to experience pain & not know why

to feel incomplete
in a land of abundance & milk

spit milk into a wound
then split the wound into two

one boy plus one girl
An acute awareness of death may have a stronghold on future narratives

I will continue to walk through life in a forward facing manner
Towards water & hills

Towards fruit-bearing trees & temples
Towards bougainvilleas

I will feel heavy with belief & loyalty
& look a certain way on the outside

while feeling an uncertain way on the inside
I will carry a bouquet of bougainvilleas to my next significant life event

I sit on a pile of sticks & count my eyelashes
Each eyelash worth its weight in gold

The day is nearing its end
The window curtains painted gold & black

I mourn the loss of small worlds while observing roaring rivers
I wonder what it feels like to be elderly

I am disappointed in the parts of my body that ache
I succumb to a fugue state

I have no common sense
& worship a single thought for no good reason

In heaven I am hot to the touch
It will be a miracle that I survive

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Christine Shan Shan Hou is a poet and visual artist living in Brooklyn, NY. Publications include Community Garden for Lonely Girls (Gramma Poetry 2017), “I'm Sunlight” (The Song Cave 2016), C O N C R E T E S O U N D (2011) a collaborative artists’ book with artist Audra Wolowiec, and Accumulations (Publication Studio 2010). Additional poems and/or artwork recently appear in Foundry Journal, No, Dear Magazine, Powder Keg Magazine, and Poetry Society of America, amongst others. She has received awards from The Key West Literary Seminar, The Flow Chart Foundation/The Academy for American Poets, and Naropa University. Christine teaches yoga in Brooklyn and poetry at Columbia University. She also provided the cover art for this issue.