hobart logo

May 26, 2021 Poetry


Emma Miao

Dynasty photo

After the announcement & its sunder, 
              I flood the afternoon light into knots. 

Pocket a maiden name, banter into twilight & 
              its constituents. Mend the scratched mirror 

in my hands. I limn a woodland chamber 
              with petals; enshrine my name with moonwater. 

This is the beginning of a funeral. Eyes pacifying
              water. Another princess assumes my voice and I slice 

her skin to the bone. Black now and silver beads 
               in my throat. I harvest my lips. Tumble a path 

coated with rabbit heads, broken glass
               jutting from my knuckles. I limp nude 

& withering below this willow tree. Light cheats
               up my bones while I rue, caress the bedding

I carved in my sleep. The kingdom was 
                never mine. Abdication: knaving Jade

forest crowned with briars. The kingdom name
              was under attack & I covetous: drift westward

downriver. Whitewater singed my lungs. Until 
              I translucent. I lethargy in black hair, duck egg

perching on water. Smoke envelopes my hands, gouges 
           them with coins, while the three-legged toad 

slips into my dress. Kingdom name still tattooed on my 
              gums. I lick ink characters & spit them onto the dirt. 

A litter of rotted teeth, worming against my tarred 
               lips. The toad pressing into my thigh as if

to transcribe a message, frayed. 
              In another life, I heave basalt up Kunlun

& hearse pebbles into the sky’s sticky mouth. 


image: René Porter