For the first lit feature of the new year, we're pleased to present a haunting poem by Jess X. Chen that beats with lust, intimacy, and destruction.
-- Karissa Chen, Fiction & Poetry Editor
How to Forgive 100 Years After A War
At the mouth of "yes,"
we climb under the sheets.
When our hands touch,
we cross into a new time zone.
Your shadow falls upon my face,
and the body of my motherland
is reduced to ash.
A hundred years ago, you were
a bullet passing through
my mother’s body. A colony
of moths–soaring into my country,
yearning only to set it on fire.
In the glow, we mirror
the battalion & the war woman,
divided by the thin membrane
of a lifetime. Despite history,
our bodies know:
to live is to strive toward the flame.
Today, we are moths soaring
toward each other, yearning only
to become lantern.
As we burn, in silence, toward
the sky, I hear no gunshots.
No flames clapping as villages burn
to the ground. I unpin our lives
from history & press my ear
to the dialogue of our blood.
My body is ready to forgive
what my past cannot.