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Yumi Dineen Shiroma is a PhD student in English at Rutgers University, where she studies the theory and history of the novel. Her poetry has previously appeared in BOMB Magazine and is forthcoming in Nat. Brut. She lives in New Jersey with Signora Neroni the cat.

1 poem

by Yumi Dineen Shiroma

Transitional Object



The hottest part of my body is its


refusal to take material form.


So many things could have gone wrong I’ve been


letting things go a little. Everyone


is someone’s idiot rando, I could


be yours. Organizing a fragmented


self around objects, the couple form. De-


nouncing as reactionary woman-


haters everyone around me. The way


she kept repeating the image of the


man with the gun in his mouth, not the things


themselves but the figures for the things, that


was the thing. The fantasy that I could


have my work and I could have *** and that


would be enough, it would add up to a


life. The retreat to domesticity


and care that I’ve wanted so badly. It


gave pleasure to believe in a future


radiating outward from the present.


The season demands the hanged man reversed


less mentally ill than I would have or-


dinarily been. I have enough rage


to carry me through another 5-


10 minutes. Then start to feel seasick, dead


in the pit of the gut. I feel ready


like something is happening / tell me what’s


happening. The silence that descends along


the renovated barn, peaked ceiling ex-


posed rafters globelike chandeliers. The bor-


derline condition the unequal con-


dition the peripheral condition


the highly scripted performance, how the


illusion becomes the illusion. How


the illusion takes on form and adds up


to a life and his cruelty emerges


at last as something utopian. Once-


electric hatred of self and other


channeled out. I can feel it building in


my chest like water, a feeling of sus-


pension. Like conditions on the brink of 


being altered, maybe there’s that charge in 


the air right now, an iron charge. But to-


night I feel a tenderness, a being 


in the world without denouncing the world 


the way I did last night. I feel ready


like something is happening / tell me what’s 


happening. She kept saying “sentences 


that commit suicide” sentences can’t 


commit suicide. Sickness. Dead sea of 


salt in the pit of the gut. I fanta-


size I leave the meeting halfway through. Some-


thing in the air a rain taste. Everyone 


watches my panic attack takes notes. I


write a novel depicting “the” “Asian” 


 “American” “experience.” I o-


pen my eyes, my mouth, the brackish water 


spills. I am his negative image, my 


hair, my inhibition, running in place 


watching New Jersey disappear behind



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