when you move the almond-eyed,
fish-slick body of the brush
across paper – thin as risen bone – you must
be sure to remember. all your past lives
are coming back for you. gathering
on amah’s doorstep, too polite or full
the year disappears & it is july
for a whole month. mama says
drink enough water. says don’t
go near bodies of water. so i
move only in the tomb of the night,
avoid all bodies
walk through every swollen mouth
empty space that carried me once.
erase the air i moved, down to the dust,
the rust & red. unpick every outline
i birthed just to hear the screams.
it takes a shedding of my skin, now, again,
expansions into fresh discomfort. often
i imagine the smell of mulberries
staining every lost & wandering thing,
鬼 gwei, into being.
& i chew endlessly the green living
of my history. every vein a skein
of fresh-molten silk, glowing &
blood-sweet. going back & back
& back this crimson line of women.
every pulsing hair-strand some wingless
thing that knows flight only by its
free & human name
a recipe for survival we pass down,
body to body in the womb. be-longing.
an entirely different vat of boiling
each instar: a new thing born
with the moon. i cocoon, wrap
my old & tired away from the sun,
soften. moult. melt into spaces
just to lose them. wander the land
empty & naked as a dream.
carrying only the gold of my skin,
the flightless weight of all this losing: