Yan Ruan

If I were to be made
of clay sculpted the way
my ancestor said,
           “Ba used mud, Ma used water,
            together they made you ––”

No. If I in my own bed,
my thighs the color of fertile soil
the smell in between
                                    earthy ––

No. If I in my mirror
look back from the other side
do you realize she is only
           known by you
           and no one else? ––

No. I think I have
your cheekbones, Ba.
Yan Ruan is a Brooklyn-based writer and artist. She was born and raised in Beijing, China, and earned her PhD in Social Psychology at University of Rochester.

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