Seven Reasons for Divorce
—Shang Dynasty (1765-1123 B.C.)
Disobedience (to in-laws)
I am the girl who wakes within an ocean,
making winter melon soup for my mother-in-law,
whose taste buds rise like thorns.
Your new maid returns to your room again.
I am in the kitchen, chopping pork into a guillotine
of red river. The stew smells like your boiling heart.
I am thinning, unable to hold even a hairpin up.
My body pocked. My face in the mirror
has a hole in it—why won’t it grow back?
You had the same chance. Idiot.
How you missed my heart
in its throbbing coat, I will never know.
Yes, I ate them. The red bean, a roiling surf
on my tongue turned to mud
only because you found out.
Something is thundering in my body.
You can hear it in the soil, bulbs breaking out into a cathedral.
Talking too much
I still mean what I did not say.
Seven Reasons for Divorce first appeared in Born Magazine and is reprinted from the collection Circle with permission from Southern Illinois Press.