at the airport we’re waving
goodbye. goodbye, goodbye.
when will i see them
for who they are?
everyone cried their way into this life,
and you are your father’s daughter, after all.
on three day weekends it is you who closed
the door, you who first crawled inside
the long afternoon.
all rain and revelry.
art, mind, body
of your own making.
sage and onion pushed far
under the nails.
wisdom and rain won’t save you,
swallowed instead of held.
you, born of what tightens
with blood and the stall of distance.
in the center of my throat
translate features hardened into a microphone
coated with someone else’s resentment.
a son’s twenty year absence stretched wide like tarry water.
new lives sprout like men. a red face, a hard laugh
like the bark of a litter, echoing in the banquet hall.
somewhere my grandma is being told happy 70th birthday.
somewhere a fist closes around the last memory of a place
long repaired, asphalt road and sepia walls, a baby crying
we’re still in the mountains, we’re still in the woods
you’re young enough to dream your life eastward
towards the rising sun a woman bows her hair in the wind
oh baby jiang, baby jiang, what will become of you?
left in the lurch of revolution, ants crawling in the wall,
an empire underfoot.
baby jiang, your time has not yet come.
baby jiang, let’s dream
some decades more.
the danger of a thought. the redness of this life,
i wrote in a story that should have been hellish
instead of soft and hoarder fare.
fire and birth. love and wound.
tokens of this earth
standing on a mound of bodies,
waving a flag, whose flag?
not me, or you, or her, baby jiang.
we’re only here for the night.
we’re only here because someone wanted more
and somebody else, somebody else, somebody
kneeled on the floor for it.
May / June 2023
Kathy Jiang grew up in the DC area, where she now lives and works with underserved AAPI youth. She previously headed up the William and Mary Review. Her poetry can be found in Up the Staircase Quarterly, storySouth, Twyckenham Notes, Proverse Hong Kong, The Northern Virginia Review, and more.
Art: Jennifer Peart. Abandoned Possibilities, digital painting
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