Emma Miao

Rows of carnations line 
the pickpocketed grass. 

My hand, swallowed 
within a pistil. Wreaths spill 

from lilac ribbons, guttered 
with rain. This clearing: 

rustled with pine and hooves. 
The morning’s halo 

stutters into my opened mouth. 
Stained with prayer. 

Brimming the ocean below: 
my black-windowed 

town, blooming, drowning, 
windless. A musket flayed 

in a field of freesias. 
The thousand glinting petals. 

I don't want to go home. 
Crumbled bricks, pamphlets 

stained with salt. Mother's 
street, black-tarred, whistling, 

whistling. Always the same 
dream: palm smeared 

in asters, azaleas cresting 
a liver, hands scaled 

with chipped verbenas. 
Home: I dig my hands 

wrist-deep into dirt. Coat 
my tattered body with litanies. 

Shreds of parchment surround 
my feet: a certificate of surrender. 

Clasped in my fist, a bouquet of carnations 
bowed down to the ceaseless wind.