caroline dinh

"OVERLAY"

nostalgia is the price I pay for indulging escapism.
everything you love now will come back to hurt you later;
we all know that so why do I submerge myself in
the songs of my today? after all, they will only become bitter requiems of
tomorrow; I wonder, does paris feel nostalgia when he takes
a tour through the scars that mankind marked upon
a map of his own self? perhaps he reminisces of
guillotines/conquest
pianists/painters/prodigies
when he pays a visit to his own museums.
or perhaps he grieves an old friend/foe when he kneels at napoleon's tomb
does he feel shame at siring such destruction?
or does he laugh in hindsight at his former flaws,
like youthful impulses, the ones I snicker/cringe at when I shuffle through
playlists compiled in what feels like centuries past?
my deck of memories--it contains every card I own
to break myself, all I have to do is reach out.
and I pull one away like it's a ticket to a time-traveling machine;
I've found that anachronistic anecdote of who I used to be.
I do not live forever so
before I can drown in memories
I'll be gone. no, I am not glad to end but I pity the immortals/those who cannot;
my mortality will bring me to shore. I am glad
I can take these steps/breaths/blinks without needing
to stumble into
past love,
wistfulness.
longing.

"INTERVIEW WITH AN OLYMPIAN"

after Franny Choi

Tell us about yourself.

//

i am the daughter of / spite and stormclouds / born of every time / anyone / has said i was wrong / and it is an honor to be standing here today.

//

And, if I may ask, what would you be the goddess of?

//

many things dear lady so take your pick / i am the goddess of electric dreams / and stories and seas / i am / the visionaries and victors / i am / mirthless and merciful / i am / slithering circuitry and / escape sequences and / forgotten first languages / stack overflows and / computer code / i am / soldered disciplines and / silver-tongued serpents / and those cocky little children who don’t know when to stop / and when they fall / they pray with my name / i am sound devices / i am silent words / i am / braggarts and / brushstrokes and / wisecracks and / wrath / i am your muse when you tell my story under stormy skies.

//

Why should we consider you for this position?

//

there are many things i do not understand but even i am aware of this: you may be olympians / but even gods / aren’t immune / to mortality.

Caroline Dinh is a Vietnamese American writer and artist. She is the founder of Backslash Lit and has work forthcoming in Strange Horizons, Flash Point SF, and Honey Literary. Talk to her anytime about leitmotifs—she doesn’t know too much about them but wishes she did.