Back to Issue Nine.

Under Heaven, Winds



forty-four, gòu, coming to meet

In the beginning the first line drawn is all that could be lost. I break into the tree with its masculine and its feminine. I break into the chest to find each ring the same stencil of a circle. Nothing in that draw. The wood peels back to reveal a heart, carved in with the kitchen knife. Murder can be so sweet.

I took something deep and wet from your wounds. In the trenches I slipped my arms inside yours until we fit together. That motion was a code, was the second, were coordinates.

Temptations often present themselves in thirds. We all know falling so love should be no different.

I find the lake dead, and the wake of our boat drunkenly sways from shore to shore. Inside a tree I seek shelter, rounding up every question. Did I turn off the gas, did I lock my doors? Fourth includes everything just lying under heaven, winds reaching the minarets, the spires, the short end of a blunt cross on my skin.

Hidden lines: a melon covered with willow leaves left lopsided on our table like a raft between us. Eat, before it spoils—I add hastily aware of not wanting to rush you. Know this, the fifth is inside us all waiting, pale and consumptive. So consume it.

On the sixth day I dreamt the pier had been wiped away. When a man has withdrawn from the world, draw out everything that is missing. In the end a mother is always right: she knows of marriage, the way to open an envelope without tearing its bill inside, shapes the clouds can mean most of all when they obscure your face in the distance.


Jay G. Ying is a poet, fiction writer, reviewer and translator based in Edinburgh. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The White Review, The London Magazine, The Poetry Review, 3:AM Magazine, Ambit, The Scores, and others. He was a winner of the 2019 New Poet’s Prize, and his debut pamphlet, Wedding Beasts, is forthcoming from Bitter Melon.

More by Jay G. Ying: 
How to Save a Stillborn,” Poetry, Issue Nine.