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Latchkey Playmate by China Adams

We were orphaned

to your mother’s pork bao buns,

your brothers’ cock fights

& tattered metallic costumes

stuffed loveless in rattan hampers

behind the stalled Pinto.

You were some hybrid


I, a rotten queen choked

with a dingy accordion collar.

You tied yarn to my neck,

a leash for the collar.

I followed behind.

Once we watched a bird,

wing-slit, hobble the chain-link edge

looking for a fine place to die.



China Adams is a poet and studio artist living in Los Angeles, California. Landscape figures prominently in her writing and drawing; her drawings are often decorated with her writing. She teaches art and design in the Roski School at USC.

Art by Andy Smith


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