The Woman, The River – Sayuri Ayers

    in Hong Kong
where the Pearl empties
into the bay
my mother learned
to despise the River
for how it yielded
to cities erected by men
their sludge spewing
into pristine waters
    in her father’s store
my mother palmed
blushing cheeks
of peaches
honeyed globes
of melons
    she imagined
her body as a sweet
ripened fruit
as a stream flowing
from stone
untouched by
grime and gravel
    fearing the wayward
nature of Rivers
my mother warns me
of the cravings
whirling darkly
within me
    she demands
the mastery
of my body
for me to remain free
of desire’s pull
    she warns
me of the blood
that will flow
from me
its treacherous
    smiling I welcome
my body’s torrent
its flood of blood-red petals
with outstretched hands
I beckon the approaching

Sayuri Ayers is a poet and essayist from Columbus, Ohio. She is the author of two collections: Mother/Wound (Full/Crescent Press, 2020) and Radish Legs, Duck Feet (Green Bottle Press, 2016). Sayuri is a Kundiman Fellow and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Website:

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