Noon by Vivian Li

Poem title: Noon Poet Name: Vivian Li Poem begins: On her skin, the red bruise of mango erupted. One slender dot after the other, a calligraphy set writing a dawn of rainbows. How, her grandmother murmured. Is this your name or someone  else’s? Moon soft like macaroons, she shuffled through her papers, slow ink smoothing through each soft verb, gazing at her grandmother’s hazy brows and wizened face. How many moons  before it was all over? She could not imagine. Her sword sunk beneath her knees, and her  grandmother knelt behind her. A warmth sparkled on her wrist, rain tinkled through her open window. You will not forget me?  Center stage: witness a Monkey King juggling bananas, a monk on a horse with meat sweet and fresh for cannibals. I ask her, why is the stage not starting? She dips her fingers into the ink,  swirls an infinite loop, the face of my grandfather, a red soldier uniform buried five feet  underground. Touching her fingers briefly on her lips, she tastes acid curling down her  esophagus. Do not  Her room flutters with the light steps of a former friend, yellow shoji cracking, a thoughtful  pause before settling down. Hello   I smooth water over paper, pour tea in a bowl. My grandmother’s voice whispering from my throat, I dry my hands on warm towels. You’ve come too late. Papers wrestle, beauty on the  moon sings for freedom, my friend’s butterfly clip hovering in the air. Do not forget me I will Do not think I will always rest here Do not  I paint my hands blue she is not blue, slightly purple like ivy morning glories Meniscusing my wrists, a lapping handcuff connects me to her moon, her round pastries, her empty birdhouses I glance up; blue ink dissolving on my face a smile withering onto white lips  Do not forget do not forget do not forget  End of Poem. Credits: Copyright © Vivian Li  Originally published in The Red House: An Anthology of Genre and Speculative Poetry (Cypress Press)  Vivian Li is a writer, editor, and musician who enjoys exploring various artistic disciplines. Her creative work can be found in Uncanny Magazine, CV2, and Plentiude Magazine, among others. She was Longlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2020 and received Honorable Mentions from Muriel’s Journey Poetry Prize 2019. A MFA candidate at UBC, she currently edits for PRISM international, and can be reached  @eliktherain.