all things oriental

on a gold-washed morning, my mother tells me about the
pearl & how it is torn from the flesh of the oyster’s
gaping mouth. yellow run through with red, an arrow, a soundless scream.
& what can be done with this hurt but carried around,
like an extra organ, a third lung?
she prays for a spoon in her mouth & all she gets is a knife
in the form of language, the syllables of this land cutting her mouth open.
she has been holding her breath for so long now
& i wonder if water remembers the shape of everything it touches.
if it remembers her skeletal hands, veins and sinew, forever reaching for
something better. this dawn-eroded land is just another promise
waiting to snap between her fingers. dust and splinters, nothing more.
but the end line is this: i am trying so hard not to become
another body beneath your blade, another life hollowed of varnish.

This is a reprint of work originally published in Kissing Dynamite.

Vicki Lin (林诺曦) is an aspiring Chinese American poet and writer born in New York. She currently lives in Florida and is a junior at Bell High School along with her twin sister. She enjoys drinking tea and having educational conversations, when she’s not reading and writing. Vicki is a participant in The Kenyon Review Writers Workshop and Polyphony Lit’s editor course. She has won Keys from the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and looks forward to having more accomplishments.

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