National Geographic by Kristin Chang


Kiduskanski by Lukas3

National Geographic told me
that the Yeti Crab is so unique a
new family was invented to classify

Here is what I need: a family that will
make seafood on Sundays. A family
that will not steal miniature salt shakers
from airplane trays

It survives because it cultivates bacteria
and eats it. That is something I can do, cultivate
bacteria and then eat it. Flagella knotting into

actual moons behind my knees, families are terrible
because they are a way of practicing pain, of
seeing what you will one day do with a bb gun
and a full-scale collage of sea animals, soft human

some fish remind us that sound is so much
slower than light. You hear their dying
only after the fact, only after their bodies
open flame. Some fish eat their children.
I am so proud of my upper lip, the way it
can be an act of war, a thing of destruction,

that you can look at it, the breadiness,
the pink, and tell that it comes from some place
of death. When my abu tells me she wishes
she had recorded my birth

as proof that something happened

Some say birth has an echo but I don’t hear it

What I do hear is the tasty teethy crunch
of a midday car crash
the sound of a swordfish through a fatty house
the swordfish that hates getting confused with the Yeti Crab

All the Yeti Crab wants is to be acknowledged by
something bigger than itself something
not National Geographic

It’s always bright in certain parts of the ocean
the coral bright and the fruitiness of its constant screaming
birth and the fish who are there
just want to forget

When I saw in you the tendency to spread your guns into thin cities
to knit a child out of your wet hair and name him something like famine
the old flagpole of pretending those mouthfuls are part salt anyway
the salt jingling our bodies as we stand there like
bent hours clutching the jellybodies of everything
we can eat
in the ocean
can we burn us clean
let’s start with the kind of fish blood that runs clear, end with
the doctors saying we need more sodium, iron,
4 fully functioning chambers
after emailing back those millionaires in Nigeria
you know more than me. About what to do with a mouth
and all that water. The answer is to swallow
all birth rooms and spit them out
perfect cyclical food chains

I called the hospital to listen to your mechanized exhale
the slap of fins in your throat
so neatly audible I felt compelled to leave an
answering voicemail that was only
my exhale, my drippy hum hardening and hardening

This is how the Yeti Crab dies: slowly,
in full possession of its white hard self
and hoping someday to

drown the sea
in something bigger than itself

Kristin Chang lives in Cupertino, California. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Word Riot, Winter Tangerine Review, BOAAT Journal, Voicemail Poems, and elsewhere. She loves aquatic mammals. You can visit her at

Photo by Lukas3, courtesy of Wikimedia commons.