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bride of the yellow river 1

This is a way of telling a story.
Wash it down your throat.

— Wong Amy, Narration

* * *

I knew a girl once, a farmer’s daughter
from Wu, who was married to the Great King
Yangtze. Yeah, that’s what they said to her,

as their sole explanation for drowning
her, one more sacrifice to the Yellow
River. One more River King’s Bride. Soggy,

I could taste in her kisses marsh gas, woe
and weeds. “There was no king,” she once told me.
“So I’m no bride.” On her face a smile brimmed,
swollen and in flood until I too drowned

as I went down between her thighs, her trimmed
black curls, her mons pubis, her venus mound

that made her rain cloud burst. I thank Eros
we met for death made these passions endless.

* * *


Wu is a region of China near the mouth of the Yangtze river.

Historical records tell of the custom of sacrificing a young girl each year to the spirit of the Yangtze, a “bride” to the god of the Yellow river.