Jieyan Wang

after the Chinese myth of Liang Zhu

my childhood dream was to capture, to cup light
in my hands. at home in zhejiang the hills were

always restless. their grass fresh green, growing wild
like youth. they said, go, little one, go, go, go. so i

ran & found you at the school across the river,
the one filled with scrolls of moonlight myths

& springtime histories. the first thing you said to me:
you look familiar, like a swallow returning to

its own nest. in the distance: the city lantern lights.
we walked down there, through streets of yellow

glow. oh, how we longed for a mother—not our mothers,
but any mother—what shines brighter than a place

named home? a place that says you have finally
countless nights, i read philosophy

to you, how laozi taught we are one with the world
& the world breathes us in. you fell asleep

murmuring yes, yes, yes. my love, i want to go see
the earth. let’s climb the bluest mountains, find

all their forgotten gods. after we die, we’ll understand
what love is. our bodies will become red butterflies.



love sonnet to snow

i clasp your hand into mine to know what december sounds like. it’s not
hard to think of you as a kiss, as a red blossom on a lone mountain. who
knew snow is so light, it’s more air than water? i think of my grandmother
on her hospital bed, telling me about a 1960s storm that covered the
city in a pale dream. glitter, glitter, glitter me to sleep. sometimes, you
smell of ashes. other times, you’re my mother reciting a myth about women
who became lost to the moon. i don’t want you to cover everything—just
my body so i can shiver out of girlhood. i can only imagine how many
voices you’ve swallowed, sweet-faced owls who never made it home. in
your long childhood, what did the sky tell you as she froze you into
existence? when did she say leave, fall? it doesn’t matter now. i hold
you with the strength of heartache, lie down with you to make an
angel. there is so, so much of you. i watch you melt on my windowsill
as i bleed ink into constellations. i promise we’ll meet again next year.



Jieyan Wang is a writer and rising first-year college student at Harvard University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Pleiades, Passages North, Hayden's Ferry Review, CutBank, and elsewhere. She is also a reader for The Adroit Journal.