I do not recognise them in the mist, my box of earth
in pieces. Around the freshwater fish flank those words
of fever printed on newspaper leaves like a recipe
for immortality. Bygone fins, finished bylines, five days
past I dreamt our park was as red as cinnabar: headshot
of a politician in the distanced casing. This is bliss:
as the slime left the beast’s mouth so life returned
to our orphan’s lake. Photograph of a suit dissolves
into our riverbank, some deal of life on the side; scandal
appearing past the gold flash of water on the shores;
hands that pan out the black elemental roe. Flesh
transmuted as I descaled my catch at home; it was like
peeling a warm pink flake of paper from a printer.
Earth, wood, water, metal, fire. My kitchen dulled as
the pin eye of the fish in the stew grew softer with
the steam. I took the scalloped blade past me way into
the evening. The last cruise liner had devoured those
fake stalls of cheap lacquer, and from what was not
broken over, the news leaked out slowly weeping
like sap. I found what I had been all along suspecting.
We moved into a new cycle: another man replaced.
I filled my bath with mercury bubbling to its brim.
Jay G Ying’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in The White Review, PBS Bulletin, Ambit, amberflora and The Willowherb Review. He was the winner of the 2017 Poetry Book Society Student Poetry Prize and shortlisted for the inaugural Desperate Literature Short Fiction Prize. He is currently a postgraduate student in Edinburgh, Scotland.