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Ghost Blade

Jessica Lao

Atlanta, GA

Westminster Schools



A response to Ouyang Jianghe


Sliver of metal, of light, of


straddled between


they seek the power I grasp


Fragile as the mother who wields me,

  feel my power in what I cannot cleave.


In the haze a knife flashes, falls—

in the unbreakable ring a life listens,

calls.  Divergence of opposites

I offer but a glimpse as they work to your demise

  I hold as much power as you have to ply.


gatekeeper of power I fear not mine

master of no melody of my own design

feel my empty consolation, mother, as I grow



by the



True to Chinese poet Ouyang Jianghe's style, Ghost Blade is anything but obvious. The poem's vague, meandering descriptions and varying degrees of abstraction invite you to come back to Ghost Blade again and again.


Jessica Lao is a senior at the Westminster Schools in Atlanta, GA. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in The Louisville Review, Chautauqua, Alexandria Quarterly, and more, and her art will be exhibited in Paris, Beijing, New York, Nairobi, and Rio de Janeiro in the coming year.

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