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I feel better, when salt-torn prayers are

down-payments for a gold medal. When the mother

tongue is salty enough to sting a judge into submission.

Should I slip in some more collarbones, ghazals that

lose their meaning when held up to the sun like a

counterfeit hundred-yuan bill? My grandfather has

perished four times in the course of these fifty-three syllables

of this elegy–a tribute to something still living. Today, Ma

visits her own grave in the rain. She has already died once

on the ferryboat here, and now again on paper. But it’s

okay. She needs documentation, anyways. Greencard, immortalized as a

product of compartmentalized merit. Rotting. Staked to a national gallery.

Fuck. I love it. I love the run-through-Google-Translate

Chinese characters slipped in through stanzas like anti-personnel

landmines. If you plant your boot into one of those little jewels,

lose a limb, pelvis peeking out of your splintered collarbone,

you will be awarded something silver. If the torso is blown apart,

extra points, maybe even the glimmer of something golden. In this

country, we need people to tell us about the existence of mothers. That

someone is thinking about them and that they will continue doing so. Fuck,

it’s fine. The way that you tell me that you kneel and weep to the ones above yet

are godless at the same time, lying perhaps by circumstance. The way that you tell

me that your teeth, your back, your ribs, your spine, your hands, your palms, your

feet are imprinted with oracle bones and myths, the way that when I reach near your

tongues reach out to me. I wonder, how many tongues can fit on one page. How many

goddamn things they can lick, uncontrollably, the undersides of rice-bowls and asphalt moons

before they become exhausted.

In the end, I’m fucking proud. I’m goddamn proud of you. I’m proud that you can fit fifteen metaphors in a single sentence and that you can name thirty Chinese cities in one breath. I’ll take you. I’ll take you. I’ll take you.


hans yang is a young writer spanning the forms of poetry, prose, and screenwriting. He is the founder and the prose EIC of the Metaphysical Review, and is an Iowa Young Writers Studio '22 graduate. He has too many works-in-progress.

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