Flesh, Tongue

Yaya Yao

 Flesh, Tongue

In this brilliant and provocative first collection, Yaya Yao confronts her inherited fragmented self and her hunger for a home, using scraps of personal and communal memory to bridge languages, worldviews and physical distance from her ancestoral homeland. Bits of Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien and Shanghainese are translated and altered to explore the dynamics between language and identity. In this collection, Yaya Yao has created a unique and authentic voice. (From the publisher)


small heart dream, hong kong

down the valleys of penthoused mountains

chase your mother's girlhood shadows

you, another black-haired head

flooding the spaces between

concrete and everywhere

the flush of your first word

turning to the nearest

source, you open


you lean in

back across

the ocean, the sun is high

your mother wonders

what you think you'll find

From Flesh, Tongue by Yaya Yao ©2016. Published by Mawenzi House Publishers.