Sally Wen Mao

Haibun for Thawing

I long for an immigrant in my bed. One who is unafraid of knots. One who will arrive with hail on his eyelash. One whose memories are muddy as mine. One who feels the dirt in his marrow. One who guesses the words of his own father’s dialects. One whose skin leaps to touch mine. One who follows the floodlights north to me. One who discovers a hideaway, crouching with his palm above his throat where it’s warmest. One who trespasses arboretums soaked in manic light. I long to measure his body by its immateriality. Its ability to seep through borders. Someone formed from a womb of passage. Together we will incubate, one sleep, one tic, one uncombed head.

Too far from winter,
The distance to each face grows.
Quiet, said my wish.

Sally Wen Mao is an 826 Valencia Young Author's Scholar and a Kundiman fellow. Her work can be found published or forthcoming in Fourteen Hills, Gulf Coast, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Sycamore Review, and West Branch, among others. Born in Wuhan, China, she has lived in Boston, the Bay Area, Pittsburgh, Amsterdam, and most recently Ithaca, where she is an MFA candidate at Cornell University.