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dragon in the euphrates

dragon in the Euphrates
Lyanna Choi

i left persepolis in raging ruins
when i laid my grief to rest
in the euphrates

the boys in their longboats hewn of young cypress
with groaning oars and weeping faces
beat their chests and cast overboard their devotions
waltzing in a precipitate of grain  —
rotting white flesh falling gently to the riverbed —
still i sleep
in blessed silence beneath the tide
until the sunrise bleeds cadmium red
and the trumpets of rosy-fingered eos
ripple through the minutes of day, cleaving at the shallows,
raising the silt from my disintegrating bones —
though i rise
the diffracted light of the surface reminds me of a foreigner’s face,
i sink
back into the familiar embrace of the naiad’s song
until finally our frequencies diverge at the delta

though the tigress’ stripes cannot change, they fade
with the muffled tongues carried by the seething current
and the violent temperance of a disenfranchised youth
by forebears dispossessed