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Khaty Xiong

Ready the Frontier

in the groves you receive me

hanging roses in the ways

     of my god


pinched & receding

we are demons ripening

     at the last of places

guardians of sick water

                  we send our mother

             of all places away

then we wage for a time

even the sun cannot meet

     & we scare like fire

hiding high

     in the trees


First offering

after a burial

     & imperfect

          tiger lilies

          & a Kit Kat bar

Big Sur in pursuit

as the sunlanding honeybee

     scooping into its mouth

your melted candy

Limekiln bright & habitable

     Mother beside me

& where on earth

did you enter the dark

     spot of my brain

          the sea



          & coasting

the night as we wish

rolling in my belly

midday persimmon


not angry

             some kind of

                  first love

I give over

     to the honeybee

Khaty Xiong poems

Born to Hmong refugees from Laos, Khaty Xiong is the author of debut collection Poor Anima (Apogee Press, 2015), which is the first full-length collection of poetry published by a Hmong American woman in the United States. Xiong’s work has been featured in The New York Times, Verse Daily, Poetry Society of America and elsewhere. More of her work can be found at

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