Faces and abstract portrait made from energy waves. Woman face made of smoke

POETRY | Self Portrait as Incense

by Jenn Ngeth

(This poem previously appeared in Arcturus literary journal.) 


You take a light; that blistering flame
to the tip of my head—

the start to my demise.

The countless ashes of my kin succumb
to your prayers; sacrificed for the absence of holy statues—

mythology turned into worship.

As I’m propped in rice grains, burning,
in my soon-to-be coffin; I permeate into the air—

transpiring your wishes to made-up entities.

As if the windpipes in your esophagus
were created by gods

& not from the action of human fucking.


Jenn Ngeth is a graphic design student from Seattle, Washington. Growing up as a Khmer American woman, she uses poetry to examine and process the complexities of life.

📸 Featured image by Kitoumi/Shutterstock.com; edits by the Emerald team.

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