How to make dumplings

By Jessie Lian

Cup your hand, like you’re half-cocooning
the moon’s reflection, like it’s glowing in a pond
at the center of your palm.

This is how upholdingly you must
let the dumpling flesh rest on yours, as you
tuck it in with cabbage and pork.

Elders around the table will cluck in disapproval,
others will chuckle and say next time, xià yī cì,
and you’ll wonder if you’re too American

or if this is how you’ll always be seen:
a reflection of real, partial form,
baby half. My father is telling stories

in Chinglish again. About how his village
was so deserted that the dark felt almost
savory. How the moon looked like a riceball,

a promise you could just scoop out
from the bowl of the sky. And it made his mouth
water, to think back on his hunger–

how possible life looked from there.


Jessie Lian spent years sneaking lines of poetry into spreadsheets at her corporate job
before re-orienting her life toward the sacred thing of poetry. Now, she spends most of her
time catching clouds in LA. You can find her work in Star82 Review, Los Angeles Press, the
Sims Library of Poetry, and on Instagram @yessietojessie.

Blog at WordPress.com.

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