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 current smiling I welcome my body’s torrent its flood of blood-red petals with outstretched hands I beckon the approaching wildness
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: sayuriayers.com.