Jinhao Xie

Jinhao Xie

I wake up & see a girl in the mirror

say a womb-less daughter like me is dangerous   
teach me about reconciliation & a body that is given
say my eyes are brown because they are river-less
show me how to drown if my body holds no water

some days, I want to mourn the softness of my breasts, just because
& I let strange men come into me & say what a good girl
tell me all there is about rivers & this phantom woman,
the governor of the moon & thus, the river

once, I swam in a river on a moonless night
& my mother was the moon thief, the river
there was a daughter who lived until nine months old 
& I was a hound that ravished her into a shadow
leaving my mother’s body an eclipse

when I ask her, why was I born?
my mother unbuttons her tight jeans 
& shows me her deflated moon, her stretched river
says here, ask me to dip my hands into this glistening
river of hers & I feel it, its ridged surface
& I hear the girl’s singing, flooding my bones

JINHAO XIE is a poet born in Chengdu. Their poetry touches on themes of culture, identity and the mundane. Their poems have been published in Poetry Review, Gutter Magazine, Spilled Milk Magazine, and anthologised in Slam: you’re gonna wanna hear this published by Pan Macmillan.