Franny Choi

Everyone Knows That Line About Ogres and Onions, but Nobody Asks the Beast Why Undressing Makes Her Cry

Her mouth is a stage sprouting cardboard trees.

          What’s my motivation? she asks the man reading in her bed.

She runs headless through the mall and everyone shouts Hey Legs!
No one mentions the girls gnawing each ankle to its core.


                    Inside the beast is an apple
                    holding a knife to its throat
                    threatening to rot.


                    So that’s what that noise was.


          She digs a claw into her ear. Pulls out a longship.
                    Rides it to the bottom of the mine.

She peels glue from her hands.

          The mine asks her about her mother
                                 and she laughs, which is funny
                    because root vegetables don’t have mouths.


Somewhere, miles above, the girl (or her mother)
                                 is putting on gloves
          or tearing chicken from the bone.


                                 Line… Line…


          Somewhere, she is a cell remembering itself
          suddenly, late at night.

Franny Choi is the author of Floating, Brilliant, Gone (Write Bloody Publishing). She has been a finalist for the Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship and multiple national poetry slams. Her work has appeared in Poetry, PANK, and others. She is a VONA Fellow, a Project VOICE teaching artist, and a member of the Dark Noise Collective.