LOTUS BLOSSOM REJECTS HER INTERMINABLE VIRGINITY
A lotus root is a wheel cut full of hollows, a buoyant vessel with rowed chambers like port windows, framing the faces of those too restless to die at home. The lotus claims no relation to the water lily, a stationary and easily drowned lookalike who never discovered the benefits of hydrophobic skin. Rather, the closest living relatives of the lotus are the sycamore family. They too grow to be hollow giants with monoecious flowers, capable of pleasuring themselves. When the lotus flower opens its sex, it does so slowly. After the long unfurling strip, the petals will curl again in the evening. On cool nights, the lotus flower generates its own heat, offering a warm cradle to any visiting beetle or bee. The lotus stamen soaked in tea recalls limbs tangled together in a shower, limp and slow and wise. She has done this blossoming before and will do it again. Even after the stasis that follows a root gashed and dried, the seed will germinate. What she will grow into no one knows. It has been thirteen hundred years since she last bloomed.
When I kiss a bruise into the cleft of your collarbone, I think of the green bottle of hand sanitizer the stump grinding man in the lid of his toolbox. He massages his palms clean before touching his machine, and then they slow waltz together, his hand on her handle, the pump of his elbow guiding her spinning jaw. She is long, low and yellow, confident enough to trust her head to his grip, just as I trust my wrists to the rope in your hands. Back arched to the bed, I feel nothing like a lizard or dead bloom, both doomed to dull with the setting sun. My opening is not so much an opening as an implosion, the suction when a stump chipper laves her tongue across a hundred years of growth and a century splinters into seconds. I, too, swallow time, the bitter pooling at the back of my throat as I take your lip between my teeth. We are not so different she and I, voraciously in love, the pulse of the world thundering in our mouths.
REALIZING I’VE FORGOTTEN THE CHINESE CHARACTER FOR THOUGHT, AND BY EXTENSION MY GIVEN NAME
I don’t remember my own name.
I think I never learned it
was mine to claim,
but I don’t remember. My name
is family property, the grandparents came
to the birthing bed and declared it done.
I can’t remember my own name.
I think I never learned it.
Hear these poems aloud:
Jasmine An is a queer, third generation Chinese-American who comes from the Midwest. A recent graduate of Kalamazoo College, she has also lived in New York City and Chiang Mai, Thailand, studying poetry, urban development, and blacksmithing. Her chapbook, Naming the No-Name Woman, was selected as the winner of the Two Sylvias Press Chapbook Prize and is forthcoming in February 2016. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in HEArt Online, Stirring, Heavy Feather Review, and Southern Humanities Review. As of 2016, she can be found in Chiang Mai continuing her study of the Thai language.