There’s a little lake in China
Where the full moon shines
And the reflection on the water makes a little road
Leading straight into my open mouth
And the little koi fish jump in

They swim past the brush strokes of calligraphy in my throat
And knock on the jade gates of my ribs
Sometimes I let them in and they curl up
Next to my heart
And they listen softly as it beats
Sor-ry. Sor-ry. Sor-ry.

Sometimes the gates close and a thousand
Terra Cotta soldiers protect me
And the koi fish swim away to the rice fields in my stomach
Where my mother is wearing shorts and a sun hat
And she looks so young and tired and happy
So they wave to her and she blows them kisses back

But then the fish swim away
Through the red lanterns and they land
In my feet
And I try so hard to be gentle
But I always step too hard on my country’s soil
And the little scales cut me
So I’m always walking on blood. 

Poetry: Saba Keramati
Illustration: April Joy Milne