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Auntie taught you her secret

recipe, the one that coaxes

the sleepless into dream.

She taught you how to distill

a potion to protect your lover's

skin from fire. She told you

the secret of your father's

dragon, how its teeth hold

warriors ready to defend

the city in time of need.

But Auntie never taught you

how to transform men, to see

into their hearts. She never

told you of the pain

when your husband leaves

you for a woman—no, a girl—

who knows nothing of potions

nor sacrifices, who would never

bloody her hands to save his life.

Auntie never said: Don't be a wife.




Emily Jiang is a graduate of the Clarion Writers' Workshop in San Diego and has an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Saint Mary's College of California. Her poetry has been published in Stone Telling and The Sand Hill Review. She wrestles with words everyday. Sometimes she wins. Most times, it's a draw. You can read more about her and her work at http://emilyjiang.blogspot.com.
Current Issue
10 Jan 2022

Angela says if I want to film the rituals, I cannot do so as an outsider or a guest. The rituals are private, she says, and a secret. That is the problem, I say, I want to film them because they are a secret.
Before she knew it, she was falling out of the sky like a waterfall and through a canopy of thick, wet leaves. Fell hard into the soil.
There is a djinn for everything: every act of forgetting, every act of remembering. Every act of oppression, every act of protest. Every act of civil resistance, every arrest, every injury, every death. There is a selfish djinn, and a selfless djinn. There is a djinn for beauty, a djinn for zakhm, a djinn for kindness, a djinn for empathy. A djinn for absence, a djinn for inaction; a djinn for climate, a djinn for crisis, a djinn for war, a djinn for peace. What are words but
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