Lillian Kwok

Black & Blue

By Lillian Kwok

After all these years some marks are still there. I thought about it while drinking coffee with Amy and she mentioned her father used to beat her. Only three times I thought. How lucky. I was always black and blue. Sometimes I let mother slap me because I knew then she would stop talking. But my mother said I did it to myself, and maybe she was right. Says I started as a baby, banging my head on the linoleum floor all day, that desperate for attention. I don’t know what I believe. All I can remember is sticking my fingers in my own bruises when no one was looking. 

Originally published by Zoo Cake Press


Ghost Come Back

By Lillian Kwok

I pushed him and he fell, his skull breaking on rock & his body swallowed by the river. He was the one who died but we both became ghosts tirelessly haunting each other. I sat in his mother’s garden, told her that it was an accident. We were playing and he fell. And it was almost the truth, only I pushed him and then I followed him into the dark fields.

I saw him live a whole life in the half-light, he married a pretty corpse girl, had a few babies, got greyer and greyer. He even had a little affair with a dark-haired suicide from the mausoleum across town. He looked happy in his little stone house.

I want to think he is. I don’t mean to keep calling him back when he’s having such a good time over there, it’s just I have trouble figuring out who’s calling out to who. Sometimes it seems like it’s both of us standing on opposite sides of the bridge shouting

 ghost come back come back.

Originally published by Paper Darts 



By Lillian Kwok

We spend that sum­mer with our dad in Reykjavik. My sis­ter is nine and wants to spend
all her time with me, but I want to bike along the water alone, look for sea­glass and
dead sea ani­mals with­out her. So she cries and dad becomes cross. My sis­ter gets
Sat­ur­day candy but not me. To pun­ish him I refuse to eat lunch and din­ner. But my
father, the old­est of nine broth­ers and sis­ters, knows a thing or two about hunger and
is not afraid of me. When­ever I want to starve, he lets me starve.

Originally published in Mascara Review.

Little Boys

By Lillian Kwok

After all we are just little boys and girls. After all he hasn’t done something terrible, only something wrong. It’s almost not me there in a too-loose shirt and summer skirt, while another boy stands guard at the door. My hands aren’t even angry, my eyes are somewhere far away. He says something to me that I’m not listening to. My sister and I are still young enough to take baths together, but no one has to tell me that this isn’t the same thing. After he’s done I sit outside and wait for my mother. I wonder if now I know a little bit more about love.


Published by Zoo Cake Press