from Iris Fan Xing’s “South of Words”

the sea calls me

on a day like this 
a cool glass of beer calls me 
to sit on the beach at sunset 
feeling the waves in my head
rocking with the sea 
a movement 
bringing me back 
to my mother’s womb
when she walked up the hill
her steps carrying both of us 

all seems faraway 
nineteen fifty-seven
and nineteen eighty-five
I see her only in winter now 
wake up in the middle of the night 
hearing her snore in the room 
next to mine 
when we reached the dam 
after she marked down the water level 
I breathed 
then that contained river 
replied with a ripple 
from its dark