Creation Myth with Birds

Lily Zhou

My name 莉 a creature Nüwa

would swath in the dead of night,

when a man could shoot six birds

with one bullet & still find his way

home by blood. I know so much

about creation, how a language

can become both homeland

& artifact.

                    Myth #1: girl climbs

to the highest mountain, turns

sparrow & flies to the moon.

The moon becomes her lover

& she does not speak enough

Mandarin to say that she loves it.

I am speaking, of course,

of my mother, nursing bird-bodies

back to life.

                    Myth #2: girl turns

ghost & stone-heavy, lives

in an empty field where the kids

play pirate with tree branches

& the talons of some unlucky bird.

Nüwa grows a finch, a daughter

from prairie grass, crafts bones

she could hide in my mouth.

                                               Myth #3:

girl escapes winter for a house

with a glass boat inside it. A language

that takes my hands & replaces them

with perfect wooden replicas. & I

am sorry that I have not grown

to love this body. & I confess

to all the histories I’ve stolen

from Nüwa. But still, I will sing

her name as creation.


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