Serrina Zou

Migration with Mid-Autumn Moon
after K-Ming Chang / after Carissa Chen / after Christina Im / after Vivien Song

In the latest creation myth, we stitch
lifelines into the moon’s sunken bays,

                    bodies unfurled at half mast. I am learning
                    there are ten thousand ways to say I’m sorry

& all of them begin with our limbs knotted
into nooses, mouths rifled into morning suns.

                    Underneath this empire of butcher & blood,
                    we watched civilizations crumble: marbled dust

caking our flightless wings. Hands that caught
light now strewn in ribbons. Caged birds

                    gnawing away our boned breaths,
                    the screen burnished into copper & rust.

In every history man is synonymous with murder
& we are the lucky ones. You tell me creation is only

                    a myth manufactured by the living, godless
                    in the hearts of the young. Look closer: the shoreline

thinning in borders, babies bottlenecked
by the stories we fed them. Of all the fairytales you tell me,

                    I will write my daughter the one faded from
                    uncharted migrations: days drowned in gasoline,

the skyline intercepted by a mother’s prayers.
I will teach her to mistake innocence for incense:

                    how she will only ever burn what she cannot have.
                    How to live in this country of sun-splashed stars

is to enemy the dead & still dying. How we will leave
our footprints on the moon & still apologize to the dirt.



Serrina Zou is a Chinese-American writer from San Jose, California. She has been recognized by the National YoungArts Foundation, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, and the Poetry Society of the UK. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Cosmonauts Avenue, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, the National Poetry Quarterly, under the gum tree, Rust+Moth, and elsewhere. She will attend Columbia University in the fall of 2021.