the floods of summer 2018

Xiao Yue Shan

houses neck-deep treading nothing, their goodshutters closed as porcelain drums this land,ashen silk. fine cotton, handkerchiefs, pajamas,house slippers—in the irrepressible sea they take onthe shapes of people wanting to be saved.linen limbs gesturing prayer. terrible wind.the okayama of july had loved hydrangeas; in summerspast they blued the doorways into fog, oceanpetals, sticky to the touch. it means with eyes closedyou do not think of the roof tiles burning like coalunderneath your palms as you clutch them, waitingfor the water to reach out a murky tongue. for it to taste,and lap, and swallow. tonight we do not ask the earthwhy it turns, save for that it now has its backtowards us. and heaven has breached its own gatesto find even higher ground. a soldier reaches deepunder the opaque, searching the distance, and ashe pulls, a small hand, same color as the water,is enclosed in his like a pearl. this is how it mayhave looked millennia ago. before they came, plantedrice, peaches, built bridges upon the valleys,ladders toward the mountains. before they walkeduntil the paths loved their feet. before they fedtheir children and named them after colors,evenings, harbors. sitting at the edges of fields,shyly green with sprout, they caughtwith palms, with ankles, a glowing summer rain.

Feature Date

Series

Selected By

Share This Poem

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

Print This Poem

Share on print

Xiao Yue Shan is a poet born in China and living in Tokyo, Japan. Her chapbook, How Often I Have Chosen Love (Frontier Poetry), was published in the spring of 2019. Her website is shellyshan.com 

41.1 Summer 2018

Bloomington, Indiana

Indiana University

Editor-in-Chief
Mariah Gese

Associate Editor
Alberto Sveum

Poetry Editor
Soleil David

Founded in 1976, Indiana Review is a non-profit literary magazine dedicated to showcasing the talents of emerging and established writers. Our mission is to offer the highest quality writing within a wide aesthetic.

As a biannual literary review, IR considers previously unpublished essays, fiction, graphic arts, interviews, poetry, and reviews. IR is edited and managed by Indiana University graduate students and funded mainly by subscriptions, grants, and partial university support.

Works by contributors to IR have been awarded the Pushcart Prize and reprinted in The Pushcart Prize Anthology: Best of the Small Presses, as well as in the O. Henry Awards, Best American Short Stories, Best American Poetry, and Best New American Voices. Additionally, we are recognized as one of the top 15 most challenging fiction markets by Duotrope.

Poetry Daily Depends on You

With your support, we make reading the best contemporary poetry a treasured daily experience. Consider a contribution today.