Two Poems / by Jingjing Tian


Dead Skin


I want to peel

winter off of me.

Flake by flake.

The dead cells multiplying,

covering my body in white algae.


I want to peel

you off of me

layer by layer,

but you’re still in my head.

In the morning, afternoon,

evening. Evening, always

in the evening

when the cold gets colder

and night gets under.


I am all alone.


I want to scrub

you off of my body

like the dead skin

in the shower but

this winter refuses,

the dead skin comes back,


and so do you.





“Your nuts tickle my throat.”

“What?” he asked.

“Your nuts,

they tickle my throat.” His eyes expanded.

He looked uncomfortable.

“The ones from Trader Joe’s.

The trail mix.”

“Oh,” he said with comprehension.


“I’ve had this cough

for three weeks.

Don’t know when

it’s gonna go away.”


“Maybe you should see a doctor.”


“But I don’t want

to. I don’t want



His eyes expanded

some more.

His eye sockets were round

like quarters;

the eyes nickels.


“It feels like there’s a fur ball

lodged in my throat.”


“Hum,” he replied.


There used to be a time you reached

for my hand, lacing

your fingers through mine

and kissed my throat

so hard that it hurt

for days and days.

We’d talk

for hours and hours.


And even though I did not choose you,

it seemed like we touched

something near heaven.





Jingjing Tian is currently an MFA student at CCNY after a short career in aerospace engineering. She likes to play with images: from sauerkraut to pine cones and underwear. She is interested in the shaping of identity, the perceptions of identity, as well as the conflict between different cultures. She hopes to discover where home is and what it means to be home.