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  You could have a big dipper   

WHO AM I by Shi Yang Su

I once listened to ma’s stories under creeper vine

brave ancestors’ nakedness shined like holy sun

shadows of their bruised spines swirled in songs

and contoured soft edges of my face, Asian sake.

My first name is Shi Yang, my mama told me it

is poetic sunshine swaying on eastern county lines.

light of my ancient blood, vein entwines vein,

Xian Ren shrouded in peony silks chant in my core.

I got her black eyes and his left hook and their scars.

my gift is granted from blood, spells engraved on bones

my ancestors, they are golden dragons roaring in east

and my words, shi ge too deep to sing it loud.

my grandpa’s calligraphy danced on red lanterns

he held my hands and wrote Fu when firework began.

I remembered, lights in his eyes, and our shadows floated

like jade rabbits, striding until foreheads kissed the moon.

At seventeen, I found God in a wayward town

a real artist, another man of my life, he blued the sky and

bloodied my face with dusts in his eyes. There, divinity

seeps into my throat; darkness dwells on eyelids, I am his.

a young disciple of God, he gave me his Bible and Kiss

flattering was easy, from my scornful bitterness at youth;

God loved me and laughed like a soft child, he granted

me magic and madness, true perfection of poesy:

my words float, improvisation of his sacred chord,

Homesick is my lyric, all my love melts into ink

lines nestle on light lilacs, life fogs in liquors

Asian prayer, my pen portrays our life so pure:

chili and celery lingers among tint Chinese ballads

Girls lay on willow chairs, napping, languid dreams

brick lanes tilt under Autumn dusk, children’s kites fly

with white swallows hovering under southern dove.

piety would dye my poetry with the golden frame

and temper its darkness with so much mercy.

I will keep my resent and breathless tears for real life,

But I have something better for my God and Blood:

a poem for poetry, that’s all I will have in the end.

when choirs settle in dusty cabinet, when my hands

no longer clasp tightly against spring flowers; listen,

ancestors’ low whispering in my last mortal dream.

that’s all I will have.

Heaven’s saxophone, perfect pitch, I will go.

leave with a piece of paper, my last line.

Not a grand symphony, nor legend about a human hero;

I write with hands of others, their lips and breaths,

I write for my ancestors, my blood, girls fragrant like

mid-summer nights and children waiting under the vine.

That’s the only thing I can offer to my God

a poem about who I am.

a poem about who we are.


Shi Yang Su is a foreign student who is currently studying creative writing. She is a firm believer of "Show don't Tell". Her favorite poet is Sharon Olds. Her poems has been published on Antimatter Dreams, Neologism Poetry Journal, Across the Margin, and Misery Tourism and her poems are forthcoming on The Bitchin’s Kitsch, Dreich Magazine & Press, Cerasus Magazine, and Moria Literary Magazine.

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