Spencer Chang

Ghost Stories (III)
                    after Tarfia Faizullah
                    for Pulse, Orlando

it’s June / I wake up / you’re not / in bed I call you / we’re sorry you have reached / I call again / call me
when you get home / turn lights off / I leave for the gas station / I buy you coffee / stay out until it’s
very dark / every face blurry / I grab a stranger / he looks like you / he pushes me to the ground /
he doesn’t / you said you would take me / to your parents next week / it’s June / but there are so
many / flowers on the sidewalk / I go back / lights still off / the radio by the bed / playing the
same song / we heard the other night / the TV flashing again / red / blue / red / blue / red / I
turn it off / I don’t / I try on your jacket / the one you gave me / at the club / I should feel
beautiful / I feel guilty / I wash my hands / I wash them until they’re red / blue / red / red / red /
I lie on the couch / this pillow feels like a stillborn / it’s June / it’s morning / you didn’t touch the
coffee I left / I call you / it’s ok / if your parents don’t support us / I’ll always be with you until /
we’re sorry / I hang up / I don’t / the radio static is you / I leave for breakfast / pass a club / police
out front / I taste hands / everywhere / it’s June / they’re running / no one is / you’re on the floor
/ you’re not / it’s June / I call you / I call you / I call you—



Dress / Skin
                    Summer 2009, California

all night I can’t sleep, chase
                    the crows like a lost doe, flickering between
                                        streetlights with my eyes closed. I’m looking for

something lighter than my hands. worship on lonely nights,
                    a thorned hymn to bite my tongue—a boy touches
                                        my jaw, still bruised from the night I ran

my tricycle down the hills, my ears brushing
                    gold as I tumbled into the cold headlights
                                        of an ambulance. even now, I watch moonlight

pool around my bedroom, reach over to touch
                    my reflection, confusing my muddled face
                                        for his. maybe skin is the threshold between knowing

& believing, a torn map trying to remember
                    itself. every contact I mistake for a heartbeat.
                                        once, while scaling the kitchen stove, I burned both hands

& swore afterwards to be careful of what & who
                    I touch. still reckless, I whisper
                                        into his left ear & this song unwinds like threads

from a white dress—the one gathering dust
                    in mother’s closet, the one I shouldn’t wear
                                        but did—he kisses me on the cheek & we turn

bruised light. boy & boy, my face flickering on
                    his teeth & I scrape my knees as mother pulls
                                        me away—. she says accident & I

only nod, carry his name
                    as a pebble, something to weigh between rumor
                                        & touch, sunken on my tongue. beneath the muttering

streetlights, the circling moonlight, face
                    in the limelight, I shave my head. one strand
                                        of hair, then another released

to the sky—half-winged,
                    into flight.



Spencer Chang is a high school senior from Taipei, Taiwan. His work has appeared in RABBIT, Eunoia Review, The Rising Phoenix Review, and elsewhere. He is a 2021 YoungArts Finalist in Poetry and an alumnus of the Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship Program.