Photograph by Casey Kretzmer
by Jenny Jiang
I almost understand. Like the time we went swimming after the storm
and were swept far past where we’d meant to stop.
An uprooted cottonwood tangled me in its broken arms,
pulled me under for a silent moment—
All your mirrors turned to slate. You’ve only learned to let. To lie down.
Why not slip across this something.
then tossed me back, aching and bruised, to the rush of rivered air.
I grabbed and gasped, found myself wanting again.
The sandbar swallowed, we had to clamber up the bank,
tramp an extra mile through corn fields. Bare feet caking with mud.
Our voices like the soft call of iron bells. The hush of the green blades
across our outstretched fingers. Sun and a cloud of gnats and corn silk
sliding over our rosy skin. Behind us now the river
and its yellowed shreds of foam
tossing there, like a tattered brocade we’ve shed.
Jenny Jiang grew up in rural Iowa and started writing poetry after moving to the Sacramento area four years ago. She's a regular at the Sacramento Poetry Center's Tuesday night workshop and her poems have appeared in Poetry Now. She won the grand prize at the Berkley Poet's Dinner in 2008. Her primary work is raising a three year old son and as well as serving in her church and neighborhood.