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What it Takes to Turn Into Sand -- poetry by May Lin

I never showed you our dance

last night,  you told me twenty minutes

only  but I waited for an hour,

or maybe two,  or maybe another thousand

I sat on the ground ass-cold,  twirling the edges of

a hula skirt  laid edges coming undone 

On a saturday morning,  you burned

mugwort leaves on the soles of my skin

weedy spitwads

I shoved cards through my back pocket 

and they fell out like pennies,   penetrating,

clanging  tight Chinese feet turning into sand

we stormed into a supermarket   ransacked 

the aisles for rotten bananas and waxy grapes

My hands soiled  but my mouth 

watered as I gnawed on a bitter note, a bonded note,

what once was teeth latched to a shedding breast 

clenching the last of a mother

At twenty three, I stuffed crumpled bills down the sack of a hong bao,

sealed it with milky spit then

mailed it across the silk road where you would 

find it on your street,  disassembled,  and think: this is my daughter 

who half-assed her way through my life 


An aspiring poet and writer, May Lin is a fourteen-year-old student who lives on the coasts of Northern California. When she is not writing, May is studying or volunteering at her local Chinese after school. 

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