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Tears water the curry-leaf dragon
as waterfalls have done so for hundreds of generations,
dripping down its tail, soaking in
the soil of the wooden pot in which the creature dreams.

Its breath warms the crevices of my apartment
like sun-baked sand nestling around your feet
or a plate of biryani filling up your throat and
all the while I pluck away at its tail; tears falling and

perhaps that is why they keep me
and my people locked away from the jewels
of the city, only to feel fresh sunlight
when we construct their mansions and machines
that slice backwards to cut our legs
and wrench the tears from our glassy eyes.

A restaurant clad in ultramarine shine
along the seas that brought us to this country
receives the leaves picked from the tail of my dragon.
“Fresh this time?”
Smirks coated in sauces I’ve never tasted.
Plates of curry draped in patterns I’ve seen my mother wear.

Care not for what goes in “the curry”—
the restaurant’s undying speciality—
as diamonds melt over carefully spiced meat
or emeralds caramelize with onions at searing heats
or rubies chopped with tomatoes thrown in after
and gold dripping off the bone that stains your fingers.

You lick your lips.
They lick their teeth, and

perhaps that is why they came with dragons that birthed blazes,
shrinking our homes into enclosures,
cutting our minds with butcher knives
and contorting our beings into being not
what we want to be, like filthy hands
kneading dough under the cosmos.

The curry-leaf dragon’s strength is fading
and so bore no leaves for me to pluck.
Suren has been tending his oleander dragon,
with a tail as bright as the sun’s delicious radiance.
Hatred spat into its soil, it is poison
tended by poison that births poison, and

perhaps different tears should fall from eyes, and
perhaps our dreams have not drowned
but are only buried, waiting to be tended.
I shuddered as Suren’s lips dripped with hatred,
calling out that we were shattered into fragments,
but that they would never be able to take our dragons.

Ryan is an Indian-South African poet and filmmaker hailing from Johannesburg. He recently graduated with a BSc Hons in Geography and Environmental Sciences and is currently pursuing a Higher Certificate in Performing Arts. You can find links to his short films and his endless retweets on Twitter @RNaamdhew.
Current Issue
29 May 2023

We are touched and encouraged to see an overwhelming response from writers from the Sino diaspora as well as BIPOC creators in various parts of the world. And such diverse and daring takes of wuxia and xianxia, from contemporary to the far reaches of space!
By: L Chan
The air was redolent with machine oil; rich and unctuous, and synthesised alcohol, sharper than a knife on the tongue.
“Leaping Crane don’t want me to tell you this,” Poppy continued, “but I’m the most dangerous thing in the West. We’ll get you to your brother safe before you know it.”
Many eons ago, when the first dawn broke over the newborn mortal world, the children of the Heavenly Realm assembled at the Golden Sky Palace.
Winter storm: lightning flashes old ghosts on my blade.
transplanted from your temple and missing the persimmons in bloom
immigrant daughters dodge sharp barbs thrown in ambush 十面埋伏 from all directions
Many trans and marginalised people in our world can do the exact same things that everyone else has done to overcome challenges and find happiness, only for others to come in and do what they want as Ren Woxing did, and probably, when asked why, they would simply say Xiang Wentian: to ask the heavens. And perhaps we the readers, who are told this story from Linghu Chong’s point of view, should do more to question the actions of people before blindly following along to cause harm.
Before the Occupation, righteousness might have meant taking overt stands against the distant invaders of their ancestral homelands through donating money, labour, or expertise to Chinese wartime efforts. Yet during the Occupation, such behaviour would get one killed or suspected of treason; one might find it better to remain discreet and fade into the background, or leave for safer shores. Could one uphold justice and righteousness quietly, subtly, and effectively within such a world of harshness and deprivation?
Issue 22 May 2023
Issue 15 May 2023
Issue 8 May 2023
Issue 1 May 2023
Issue 24 Apr 2023
Issue 17 Apr 2023
Issue 10 Apr 2023
Issue 3 Apr 2023
Issue 27 Mar 2023
Issue 20 Mar 2023
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