EMMA
MIAO

Emma Miao is a poet from Vancouver, BC. She is the author of Geography of Mothers (Frog Hollow, 2021). Her poems are published in Atlanta Review, Permafrost Magazine, Frontier Poetry and The Fiddlehead. Her poem 'Fifty years after the war' won the 2021 Cincinnati Review Adele & Robert Schiff Award for Poetry. She hopes you have a wonderful day.

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MISTRANSLATIONS
after “靜夜思” by Li Bai

床前明月光

Moonlight falls before the bed

 

疑是地上霜

Like frost on the frozen ground.

 

举头望明月

Look up at the bright moon,

 

低头思故乡。

Look down, think of home.

 

 

1.

 

the moon falls / like ice. / the moon stands

on the bed / breaks / into so many other

moons. / & fingers. / the night, slashing open //

the day I left // the frost. /

& the whiplashed bones / of the

roadstruck deer

 

 

2.

 

the sky / is a bruise / swallowing

me whole / this house / means a

child, laughing in mama’s arms // means

what is the moon / if not my body //

& the deer / stared me in the mouth /

four years / skidding on the midnight

road / & the eyes / saying turn back /

carve up the bed                & grieve

 

3.

 

Snow falls on the snowy moon. Look up, child.

Home is some unreachable thing.

BOAT SONNET

Rain dots my eyelids. Under me,

the lake stirs, awakens, finds my boat

 

and a fishing net on its back.

A train whistles, snakes along

 

the yellow mailboxes and lofty

flood-proofed houses, smooths

 

into the blueblack trees. I wonder

if the townspeople are awake.

 

The houses look so little from here.

I am held captive like freight

 

willed forward by the water.

Lift hands to the yawning sky.

 

Drift to shore. There is nothing to do.

All these illusions of certainty.

RECOVERED LETTER

On mobile turn phone landscape and enlarge

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AUBADE WITH MY UNCLE'S LUNGS AND A HOSPITAL BED

On mobile turn phone landscape and enlarge

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TOMATO SONNET

In the kitchen, I apply tomato

broth with a silver spoon to my lips.

 

Press silver to my pink lips. Knuckles

creased white like pathways of snow.

 

The snow has covered the house. A white

sheet encases the splintered porch.

 

Porchlight haze: moths encased in glass.

Even winter has lost all her fruits.

 

The supermarket fruit, skinned and gutted.

Red-peel ribbons on the table.

 

Wood splinters my fingertips red.

The broth, like a ghost, tints my fevered lips.

 

Shame glows feverish inside me.

I stare it down. I will not be tamed.