your blood goes picnicking at a grave
brooms and burnt paper in hand
4/4/[2000 + 4×4]
At Qīngmíng only the magnolia huā (花)
bloomed munificent white against a grey curb.
Like the first mourner at a mythic funeral
you—little (华) girl—
knew of, not knowing
how to proffer greetings and farewells abroad.
White huā/huá honouring their Aprils
—not cruel like ours,
but we have learned.
Know, without knowing of
that will not be your hill to die on 死/死/[2000 + 死x死]
“Miss me ambiently”
maybe their bodies whisper;
Look about and know of better 花(样) elsewhere—
will they still bloom
when your flowering years (年华) are gone?
Visiting ghosts saturate branches
practicing heliotropism at dawn.
Forego your duties, little花 girl, to sit downwind for afternoon tea.
Upon evening departures
from east-facing blossoms.
But these magnolias are no华royalty;
hear their hungry roots calling
until they find you cutting toenails on your bedroom floor
preparing for a warmth
wrapped in the feet of some great-grandwoman.
She is still journeying towards the magnolia
spring when you arrive, knowing:
brooms and burnt paper in hand.
 Overseas Chinese
Born and raised in Toronto, Victoria Liao is a mad and queer second generation Chinese-Canadian writer and undergraduate student at the University of Toronto. Between assignments, she edits and reads for The Spectatorial, Looseleaf Magazine, and Augur Magazine. In her own time, she reads, writes, and dreams about fantasy worlds where marginalized folks can voice their stories, and where every cat gets its cuddles. Some of her writing can be found in The Spectatorial, The Strand Magazine, and Goose: An Annual Review of Fiction.
Zixi Mu is a freelance illustrator from China. She is living in Hangzhou. She hopes that one day her illustrations could warm you up and support herself as well.