i. wall

A wall is ready for him to face.
People who are walking around become ghosts
driven away by the solidity floating in the corner
where he, a nerd, opens up a math field.


ii. rain

The clock clicks thirteen times.
The dryer spins.
The thunderstorm howls.
The blinds flip the heartbeats.
Lamplit soul, how could you stand such muggy love?


iii. light

No flies throng you for warmth,
fireflies, dragonflies are gone.
Dusts romp with endless joy
to glorify your shine.
No one would doubt
you’re the king of the night.


iv. darkness

No world is more silent than this, whose
gravity perplexes me this moment, but soothes
me the next. Shower of darkness, illumination makes
no sense within. Wearing a stranger’s rib cage, waving
grafted hands, bodies are being sliced into pieces
by the dark flow, nothing is irreversible out there, except
loneliness, which spreads
like dust mites and germs.


You Teach Me Through the Splendor of Wildflowers

You don’t know how to amuse yourself in cities where every piece
of profile is embracing selfie poles
that stitch together the abdomen and the black holes.

The indigo palms of your mother caress your walking steps
through the bamboo forests blossoming amid the wildflowers.

You believe.

You believe every flower has a soul, every color is craving for its pieces
of linen cloth. Weaving, dyeing, and embroidering into beams
of the full moon that hover above the singing rivers.

Now a specimen nailed on the walls
in a nature museum recalls a deserted memory
of the splendor of wildflowers,
dangling over the breeze.



The fan is blowing morning air and the fresh dews
which make me chilly. Get up, let a poem

be the starter of a day. Chance’s staring
at me while I’m having breakfast.
He’d love the rice ball as much as I do. To assume
that someone thinks the same way as you do

is a way to begin a poem. The grape vine leaves
that are climbing up to the block glass
window (the translucency amazes
me a great deal) reminds me that my back
could be fertile soil for plants
to crawl up and take roots. They are inside

of me and my bones
soften. The burr oaks sift through the brightness
for me, transparent
and blurry shadows, to protect my bluntness.
The pine swing is not so damp as it was
caught in the rain the day before, which came and went
and Chance’s ball becomes slimy in the yard. I hesitate

to open the door. I am an intrusion in this
earthly, wooden world.


Organic Nails

I’m living all day
just like a wild, hibernating bear
eating, sleeping
for long hours
which equips me
to go to a salon
…I rush out
from the salon
leaving my nails

I’m scared of wearing
these fancy dyes
and going back to my dens.
You know, I’m an organic animal
who insists on living with

its organic claws
in this chemical world.


Baby Girl

You think you still need tissues while packing to move into a house
where a widowed lady lives together with her two beloved dogs.
“His barks make me feel safe.”  The words reappear in the morning rain,
clutching, firmly, the dyed tissues wherein your memory
of childhood dissolved into the watermelon

Juice. You get used to it. Packing, unpacking, moving in, moving out,
annually, throughout the planet, though never been outside

of it. Licking the lips, a humble gesture adopted by grandma and her baby girl
when her father forever fled a war-torn village… You were a baby girl born
more of a political comedy than of an individual one… But your birthright, stripped
of by a wall of files demanding
carnage in the mud huts, had to be

Restored. Pick up the possessions that would satisfy you, physically and emotionally,
however superficial they are, leave the others behind,
and move on. The old things will develop like a caged parrot picks up
its tongue. Moon waxes, moon wanes, the scent of summer decays in

autumn’s womb. Winter dread lurks, waiting for the right moment to sneak into
the cotton in the hand-sewn quilt. The rain never ends. The well swells,
and never dry, which delights grandma who lives amid mountains and rivers
and never moves, and clings to the creek’s arm, and sing, and sing

till the ode never ends.


Xiaoli Yang

Xiaoli Yang

Xiaoli Yang is currently working on a doctorate in comparative literature at the University of Minnesota. She reads French and Italian fluently. She was brought up in Chongqing, China and has been a Chinese teacher in the Confucius Institute at the University of Bologna, Italy. She is doing research on early Chinese cinema and documentaries.