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lotus imploding in water

CAS for Database

Ashley Wang

Hong Kong

The Lawrenceville School


  -- for great-grandma

naked foot stirs in the moonglow, its bareness blue in the

glaze of simmering plastic, walls that keep this concoction, born

of Chinese voodoo, from spilling into it all: silk sheets & lavender

& zitan rosewood frames & porcelain celestial

dragons that shatter in sun. baptized in an elixir of ginger

root and saffron, cartilage melts joints shift skin scratches

arches twist. bending        mutating melding into pain-ridden

chains, toes fused against purple-bellied nailbeds, gutting

the pulp of rotten fragrance from peeling cuticles. muscle

unravels, epidermis stretches and wanes, as her bones yearn to reach

beyond knotted sinews bound so tight, it would take ivory

blades to carve their harsh ridges into surrender; to break

through would require an explosion, brittle

bone        bursting, pearl shrapnel blossoming in ossein

fields. in silence, she pleads with a voice

sliced, stifled in smoke reeking of alkaline

ammonia, acid teeth biting through tongue. drops

of ginseng syllable are choked into esophagus, bloated

with earthy spit. fingers wrap around the cotton wires corseting

her feet, jaundiced by years of grime & weight &

buried truth. when the shaman’s talons lift to marinate her

shackles in lamb-pig-cow-human marrow, her mother’s words

burrow like silkworms in her ear: look, your lián huā jiǎo

are blooming. they’re your offering to Yuè Lǎo,

who will grow you an instrument to pluck

singing echoes and sweep men to their knees

in a dancing stupor. swelling lotuses claw

afloat in the swirling basin, innocent pink concealing

the crocodile leash lined with razors pressed to skin, because why

use chains when you can soak knives into a girl’s flesh, sculpt

her feet into hooves — buckling before she can

walk? in darkness, water is ink, a niagra of suspended

pentatonic rhythms, of poetry carved into cleaved

ambition. then again, with the wrought writhing

of her flesh, pregnant lotus thrashing in prayer

violet, it looks a bit more like blood.


Feel your chest tighten and your limbs turn cold as "lotus imploding in water" slowly drags you into the ground. Each line is punctuated and perforated with sudden twists and turns that meld mythology and mutilation, but beneath the poetic rigor mortis lies a yearning for gentle reincarnation. Remember though, no one can hear you scream when you’re six feet under…

Ashley Wang is a sophomore at The Lawrenceville School in NJ. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Gigantic Sequins, Sine Theta, and more. She enjoys fencing and watching indie movies.


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