Graphic by Haewon Ma

I swallowed a seed and now it rises,

but I am broken,

so it cannot live.


As a child,

I ravaged watermelons mercilessly,

ate them quick like candy.


And their seeds—swallowing them,

my mother said, would birth

a million watermelons in me.


I swallowed a seed,

and now it grows green,

leafy hands and flowered veins.


Mother, mother,

how could I tell you

I want to go back, want to grow in reverse,


to curl up and become a seed.

How could I tell you

that when I throw up these words


they turn to flowers bleeding

from my mouth. How can I say

I’m home when I ache for the soil,


to emerge a body suddenly whole.

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