Spring 1996 • Vol. XVIII No. 2 PoetryApril 1, 1996 |

The Pain Fish

The only time Father cried out in pain he lay in a hospital bed with three broken ribs. A hundred clubs striking down from Red Guards never made Father break his silence— they left scars on his head.   Mother says he fell from the riverbank while fishing. I think it was on the winter solstice day. Mother weeps at his ingratitude. He could not move for three months— Mother fed him and changed him.   Father says Mother is a little mouse who bites those who are down and close but she trembles near any scum of a person who gloats over success. He mocks how she would gobble tiny fish and spit out all one hundred tiny bones. He keeps fishing and supplies her with small fish.   We are defined by the blood we shed; the blood on Mother's underpants smelled of rust, I washed it off in freezing winter in a wooden basin; blood seeped through the door I closed when Father cut a chicken's throat for Spring Festival; a broken glass cut into my knee when I fell while run

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Yun Wang
Yun Wang is the author of poetry books The Book of Totality (Salmon Poetry Press, 2015) and The Book of Jade (Winner of the 15th Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize, Story Line Press, 2002), poetry chapbooks Horse by the Mountain Stream (Word Palace Press, 2016) and The Carp (Bull Thistle Press, 1994), and a book of translations, Dreaming of Fallen Blossoms: Tune Poems of Su Dong-Po (White Pine Press, forthcoming 2019). Wang’s poems have been published in numerous literary journals, including Kenyon Review Online, Prairie Schooner, Cimarron Review, and Salamander Magazine. She is a cosmologist at California Institute of Technology.  

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