This is what happens when

you realize that language is a two faced


Ann Pedone graduated from Bard College with a degree in English and has a Master’s Degree in Chinese Language and Literature from UC Berkeley. Ann is the author of the chapbook The Bird Happened, and the forth-coming chapbook perhaps there is a sky we don’t know about: a re-imagining of sappho. Her work has recently appeared in Riggwelter, Main Street Rag, Poet head, Cathexis Northwest, The Wax Paper, and The Phare, among others. 

I remember what you said about a woman’s body/that it is

an instrument/all neck but no strings /You say you want to

suck all of the holiness out of her/But you do that and

all you’ll find is grain/ You see this light leaking out from

between her legs/We don’t have a word for that yet/at least

not in this language/I know this song won’t catch anyone

by surprise/Least of all you/You there with your lips on

her neck/Not so fast/Did you hear yourself echo through her

Did you get that/Language is a Trojan Horse/That’s why you

feel so/boxed in /Remember what your mother told you

Sex doesn’t follow Newton’s laws/It is a thing formed when

memory passes from milk to blood/When all of the words

that you’ve learned /go missing up inside her/Whatever you

do/Don’t try searching for her in the word woman/You won’t find her there.

Yong Takahashi was a finalist in The Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing, Southern Fried Karma Novel Contest, Gemini Magazine Short Story Contest, and Georgia Writers Association Flash Fiction Contest. She was awarded Best Pitch at the Atlanta Writers Club Conference.



I sit on the edge of the deck every morning

as I go over the choice I made last year.

At a girl’s night out, friends asked each other:

“If your husband and child fell into the ocean,

Who would you save first?”

Of course, a woman is expected to

give the politically correct answer.

All the members pronounced

it had to be their golden child but

shuddered at the thought of making

the terrible choice in real life.


Then on a beautiful Sunday morning,

a drunk boater hit us and our family

of three flipped into the deep water.

My husband hit his head before

falling and my son panicked.

I had to make a snap decision as

both began to sink beneath the sea.

I wonder if I’d be happier if

I had chosen to save the other as

regret haunts my dreams each night.


The world judged me as if they

would have made the right choice.

Either way would have blown up

the perfect world I had made.

Everyone abandoned us, the survivors

of that fateful day, floating aimlessly

from one gray day to the next.

And each day like clockwork,

he comes outside and waves at me

and I wave back, thankful for him

but always longing for the one

I couldn’t save.

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© 2020 by Opal Literary Journal.