Maggie Yang is a poet and artist from Vancouver, Canada. She is a Foyle Young Poet of the Year, and her work has been recognized by the Scholastics Art and Writing Awards, The League of Canadian Poets, The Poetry Society of Virginia, and Poetry in Voice. Her work appears or is forthcoming in The Adroit Journal, Polyphony Lit and F(r)iction Lit, among others. An interdisciplinary artist, she is particularly intrigued by the intersections of the written word with the visual and performing arts.
[truth in the dark]
— after In the Hood by David Hammons
I hang the wall. Golden frames shimmer, a contrast to the bleached narratives.
Pinned on the pure, my black fabric a reflection of the severed past jagged with unsewn
stories restitched in retrospect.
I am a product of time, bright in the sound loud of emptiness, in where a head was.
Now suddenly dark on the white wall, fresh of light
PROVERBS IN THE DIRT
I Swallowed by detonating dirt, you emerged a sun-drenched cloth carried by the rushed hands of soldiers as you were smuggled into a cloth caravan under the grey sky. Lilies bloomed on your tongue as you croaked mama among the hunched bodies in a field of buried bones. Your heartbeats mirrored the irises of gunfire, breaths sewing into haphazard stitches as mama whispered lullabies into your lungs. II Your lost village splinters your weathered skin, plums lie rotten under scalding yellow heat. Colors stirring into sewers, glowing of tattered silks. Sweetness eroding into bones, chrysanthemums dormant in your veins. As gabled roofs curl into ropes suffocating nature withering the seeds you planted there, your hands limp as they dig into the dirt beneath concrete, once cupped with life. Chopsticks of a foreign language fractured, brushstrokes fraying into new branches of time, strands forking into different continents. The Yangtze river spills into roots, looming over decayed families beneath running engines. Fragments of porcelain bowls spill spoiled plums, sour yet sweet, burying proverbs in the dirt.
Sitting on a train, the world passes by
days fading into rain, windows
distorting my face, drops racing against the wind. Sun
rippling across oceans—train axles tearing land,
ripping through the tracks—its own path
into the water.
A canvas restitched, bleached, layered
wooden frames buried under dust, covering the sun
regret settling into the horizon.
The tide retreats slowly,
reminding me nothing can stop it.
Foreign dialects hover from skin to skin
while I stand in the middle of a street,
feet covering gaps between the lines
shattering my reflection in small puddles as I waver.
As if a car’s veered into me, the water engulfs.
People step over my
body: a crosswalk.
I tear the canvas again, wrap it around a broken sculpture. Faceless, I chisel the edges with my bare hands,
shape with the crushed, sculpt
through destruction and healing.
But the train stops.
People get on.
I look out the window
and the train moves again.