Motherlode

Isabella Jiang

Cresskill, NJ

Cresskill High School

Poetry

i.

Willed prior

to a corner of their minds, rice arrived

like snow: bright,

by June capsules bitter

to stomach. And so rough

when seized with sooted hands,

that great-Aunt writhed

upright in her cot, then lurched

back into slumber. That night,

she would sleep

beneath their field, the milky gut

swollen with pearls.

ii.

Within days I kill the myna,

the birch, the yucca

for I still don’t know

to reap.

iii.

The rust,

the blood mingled into one

in the alleyway—moon

low then,

at the birthplace of five pups. Ma,

one who’d stoop

for angelicas, find fish

to feed the mouth of a river,

bore two home.

iv.

Twilight, when working lamps

were scarce,

forms that tensed

their backs like boys crept

up the road. For days,

for hungry dogs whose skin

would nourish men,

she wept.

v.

Set in soft hands,

here are two I am first

to mother: the sapling

curved like my great-Aunt’s

fingers, the myna bird

murmuring itself to sleep. On

it slumbers, as if enclosed

in a damp glove,

while Ma guts a melon

in the light of dawn.

EDITORIAL PRAISE

There is a cubist aesthetic to this poem. The fragmented images rendered here in poetry bring light into a broken reality.

Isabella Jiang ('20) is a student at Cresskill High School in Cresskill, NJ. Her work has previously been nominated for The Best Small Fictions and recognized by The Poetry Society, Hollins University, The National Federation of State Poetry Societies, The Growing Stage, and elsewhere. She edits for Sandpiper, Opus, and HerCulture.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR