Chinese communist revolutionary from Hunan province, Mao Zedong, died on September 9, 1976.
Breath hasty on Mount Yuelu, eyes bristled
like pheasant wings.
Girls hum to a pursed lip statue, lulling the Hunan pharaoh
to a stony sleep, barricading the red flight westward.
Yilu whistles a morning hymn. I bow my head,
I have drowned, summoned to brackish water
by an anaphoric undertow.
They know I collect slender tea leaves
in a river cusp.
They know I read the weeping,
full-throated. Baba rises, brows stern, palms
drifting like the feverish current. Wives glare,
safely distanced from the wreckage.
The gods made divine ambrosia,
taught me how to swallow light.
The way their skins tasted like honey,
their mouths – the sea.
My twilight fingers and cashmere lips
formed the shape of a body.
I might have been a prayer,
this man-made sky was
Jennifer Boyd is a high school senior from Hull, Massachusetts. Her poetry and essays have appeared in several publications, including Poetry Quarterly, Alexandria Quarterly, Tower Journal, and The Critical Pass Review. She is the recipient of the 2017 Easterday National Poetry Prize. Additionally, her work has been recognized by Smith College, Hollins University, Princeton University, and the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Most recently, Jennifer published her first chapbook, Stretto (2017). Jennifer is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Onism Journal, a digital publication which features the creative projects of young artists around the world. She enjoys blogging for Voices of Youth and HuffPost in her free time.