Three Poems

Hot Dish

Since under, I had spoken one word a day
To a complement a meal, I would utter,
‘Breakfast,’ ‘Lunch,’ or ‘Dinner.’


To move from coming, I speak slighter
Worded widely that the cheeks bled,
Spinning trellises before wet sun


Despite warming my plate, I had caught a bug
One shell crinkled from the pressure
Two wings stretched until thin


There is a word for that now
Tied loose around a leash
3 feet and legal


In sleep, I ask questions
In wake, I complete sentences
Word up, I grew a plane field of vision


Now I know! A trick had swept me up
At the brim of its crest
Patient, I wait for worms



I had held hands tightly in the past, so red they became white, gripping for a reality that came out of us in some conjuring spell that I had hoped we both knew, I had known we both known. If given time then it would leak out, guide us, forecast the struggles and the exact patterns of relief. We all know that can’t be true, that is, answers in the moment asked. We all know that these kinds of lessons move slow like molasses. That the points of uncovering lay not in the intuition that beholds you but in the practice of organizing such time itself. Then why do it again? Why hold tight and pray? Why come back to the altar? Why collect in a vase those wishes built up, step by step? Why make a promise to a friend and to a lover and to a brother? Why still hold each bead with certainty? Make your bed until it’s tight?

I ask where I am and do not want to hear a call back. It would make a living Hell to see yourself peeking back at you through the blinds. Something was going to happen, all over again. I’m not about it until the veil is aged, until the veil catches flame. I can hear voices from in my confession to you. I’m obliged to tell you all about it. Slowly. In reveling today, in committing to that task I’ll say we’ll see what happens. A sign will mark it. A path will cross it.


Weaning Off Rainwater

Normally that well is airtight,
But if lucky it’s primed to be
loose as a flute.


I spent all summer setting those stones
Creasing viscous cool mixer so flat,
Sealing those pores
Layer by layer
so they can’t so much
ever come free.


At the bottom, freshwater
And lower, little fish.
They don’t need eyes
down there


One day, I might shoot a gun
See what comes around ringing
Or send a man’s varsity jacket
See what it has to say


Yeah, rocks need heat to stay tense
My back got burnt leaning in to tend
After all of that I’m glycolic every morning


Lately the sand drill won’t keep cutting it
Vines won’t stop growing from it
It’s now a para-synthetic burial ground
For an interruption made suspect


Come on now:
It’s the next sowing year already!
Make the hole bigger and
Drive clear the mission to take the passenger
Driver hostage and trick the chanting crew to
Forget their words and make the
Plain Syracuse smell a desperate
brain buzzed mole, stillwaiting.
I built you for that, didn’t I?


Teline Trần

Teline Trần is a writer from Orange, California or Gabrieleño/Tongva land. They write about home and interstitial faith via several mediums such as fiction, poetry, film, and ultimately the browser. Teline works as the membership and community engagement coordinator at Wendy’s Subway, a reading room, writing space, and independent publisher in Bushwick, Brooklyn and as the development coordinator at Mekong NYC, a Southeast Asian grassroots organization in the Bronx. Their work appears in No, Dear Magazine, The Poetry Project, diaCRITICS, and MONO NO AWARE. Their first chapbook is Ad Học, published with Wendy's Subway.