nasi

Eda: A collection of poems

Eda: A collection of poems

 

how you walk through the fire

i.

hands,
searing constellations on my
back,
my thighs,
my hair's
coarse and heavy strands.
you reach a
handful inside of me,
pull out a
gentle, rumbling
"oh."

i tell myself we are just
bodies looking for bodies
to momentarily call home.

mouth,
leaving bite marks like
crescent moons,
bruises like apologies,
lips fumbling with
shy smiles,
hellos,
in rarest of moments,
"I'm sorry."
the way you
kiss me
makes me forget
i am part monsoon.

 

ii.

we do not learn each other
conventionally
just by hands,
mouth,
heart.
messy collage of
forgotten nights and
disappearing time,
my penchant for
leaving beds before sunrise.

i keep carving snow angels in
white sheets of other men,
look for my
sacred parts
in the ceilings
above their beds;
you become home
through all this in between.

the things i know about you
come from
pillow talk,
falling words
accidentally caught,
memories dropped between
sex
and drugs,
the way you look at me in
beautiful
blue-violet night.

the way i wake to you
in rose-gold light.

 

i fall prey to
my sun sign,
talk a lot
but say nothing,
tell myself that
i do not love you, that
he will do
if just for the night.
he is not you,
but i did not love you
it was just how you looked in the light.

you light me on fire,
but i keep the flames at bay;
think your beauty,
your being,
is a shame.
i pray for
over forty days
to end this burning drought,
make myself know
you did not feel this way;
you do not feel this way,
but still hope for rain.

the silence of your lips
leaves me scorching.
i do not know
how to ask you anything.
so i wait.

iii.

there is a fire where i am standing
and you are scorching me
slowly
from the inside out
an ember laying nest
between my ribs,
shipwreck of
falling,
flaming wood. in this
raging mess of
quiet catastrophe,
this relentless blaze,
i will surely drown.

there is a fire where i am standing
and my mother taught me
it is not always better to stay,
but i have spent 6 months
turning my flammable air
into
peaceful ocean wave and
my capacity to love into
salty,
bittersweet sea brine
waiting
for you to change your mind.

there is a fire where i am standing
and i am beginning to realize,
my mother meant it when she said
people do not change.
sometimes,
sweetie,
they just can't be saved.
if he wants to be with you,
he will,
she said:
I want to stop watching you
watching yourself pretend.
didn't I teach you
there are things
not even women can mend?

 

there is a fire where i am standing
and i am tired of pretending
like i am not
on fire,
like i am not burning.
i have apologized for
my tendency to
turn us into story,
but i wanted us to be
narrative,
arc,
ending,
something more than
just chemistry.
i put us into past tense,
pull together
tattered shards of an end,
make us finished,
no matter how uncertain or
undefined,
no matter that you were never mine.

there is a fire
where i am standing
but
my body
has burned from
rose gold
to the hottest
cobalt blue,
and
it has grown tired
of waiting
for you.

it was never
quiet river,
tranquil water,
or able to be subdued.
my body is
blazing with want, and it
aches
to remember
how it is part monsoon,
and
it expects sadness
the way it expects rain.

it knows both cleanses you.

 

there is a fire
eating me up,
but i am my mother's daughter.
and she taught me
one thing about water:
the only thing it follows is capricious moon.
do not look back,
turn into salt,
and let it burn your flesh through.
keep moving,
sweetie,
you will find respite elsewhere.
sometimes,
not even the ocean
deserves you.


when lions roar

when i bleed,
you bleed.
when you force yourself
inside my daughter,
you are raping generations of women,
my mother told me.
when you are hurting,
my child,
speak.

i have scrubbed raw my own skin
so it stops reeking of my sins:
the man who gave me
Everclear in place of vodka shots,
the man who pushed himself
inside of me
raw,
the man who gave me more
when i asked,
"how much."
i know i talked a lot, but
i swear,
i just wanted you to hear.

i am my mother's daughter
but she is the one who said,
i did not teach you silence,
so that you would not know
when to scream.
they will call you crazy, but
you are not
just a woman.
you will never be
just a wife.
you will never be
like me.

 

my mother said,
you have my Southeast Asian blood
coursing through your veins.
how did you think
you would not find the strength?

i just want to know,
was i not good enough?
i am sorry i am
loud and unapologetic and
dripping with frenzy.
could she
speak softly?
is that why you
chose her over —

i am not roaring because i am
overemotional or
crying or
angry.
i am roaring for all the times
my father told my mother
to be quiet,
for all the times
he told me to endure pain
without speech.
i am roaring because
i want to know
just how many women
keep their men alive
like fucking lions —
and are told to stay
docile,
humble,
and meek.


these are all the ways we say goodbye:

one.
in orange lamplight.
we slow dance in
something like a burning room.
you grab at my hands.
i laugh,
a sound to cushion the kiss.
we think it will be fine.

two.
staring at white screens.
boxes of
glass and wire
that never say all the things
i wanted to scream.
your smile doesn’t read through
the text
“ok.”
my quiet gets lost
between all my words.

three.
next to burning embers.
fire pits,
darkness,
discussing dreams.
you tell me to be normal
through the lens.
i laugh,
a sound to cushion the silence,
discomfort,
the feeling i used to get
when finding your eyes at sunrise.

 

four.
running down stairs.
or up them,
to find each other
early in the morning
or late at night.
maybe it was the way we fell asleep holding hands.
maybe it was the high.

five.
slowly, almost like
falling asleep.
i hold onto you even though
i know,
it’s not the right time.
we are sound waves,
sine and cosine,
sometimes erasing each other,
sometimes growing so large,
we are so deafening,
i lose sight.
it wasn’t love,
but it felt right.

six.
the way we measure mass
is by how powerfully their
smallest
most energetic atoms strike.
not
the names
by which they’re defined.

 

By Eda Yu
Illustration by Farida Radwan

Jackie

Jackie

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