It Was Our First Great Sorrow

                           And the flowers bloomed a violence. Sunflowers 
burned their heads off. Blue azaleas lit the match. What could be 
torn was torn:

                                                    sepals, filaments & anthers split open, 
entrails hanging; every pistil ground down to the cellular level.

                           Oh, what work it was, 
                           what work it took.

                           From the windows of the labor ward,
didn’t we see the magnolia trees shred their own petals, turning loss into 
small, delectable bites?

                           Forget-me-nots, those skinny-stem bitches, 
wandered around with an unconquerable thirst while purple 
mallows shivered for more.

                           Oh, what work it was, 
                           what work it took.

                           My father told me, 
                           when I was born
                           there was a light
                           that was unreadable
                           like the smallest book in the world

                           That day, the daisies sharpened their knives.
The poppies, seasonal, bloodied their toes, trying to kick down
            the perennial vines, the wisterias & honeysuckles & dark ivies,

                           but they couldn’t stop the branching, the incessant
            multiplying & dividing, any more
than they could stop grief from splintering out of love.

                           What work it was
                           to say her name.
                           What work it took
                           to unhold her. 

Yun Wei received her MFA in poetry from Brooklyn College, and studied international relations and health economics at Georgetown and London School of Economics. Her awards include the Geneva Writers Group Literary Prizes and Himan Brown Poetry Fellowship. Her poetry and fiction are forthcoming or appear in Michigan Quarterly, the Summerset Review, Poetry Northwest, Wigleaf, and several other journals. She works in global health in Switzerland, where she relies on chocolate and tears to survive mountain sports.