Hit play below to hear Yuxi Lin read her poem “Gametes” and scroll down for the full text. “Gametes” is featured in MQR’s Spring 2021 Issue.
I squint at the dirty beach & adjust my bikini. My cousin floats on her back a few feet away. She’s the most beautiful thing— Five years older & mean, she used to kick me in my sleep. We lie facedown on the concrete dock as a hawk circles us. She tells me about boys she’s kissed. I don’t move even though my new skin is itching. Something tells me that what she’s saying is important, that one day I, too will do it. This must be how knowledge works, climbing from one mouth to another, a worm in the pit. I can’t tell if she is happy. Not everything is about being happy, Repeats every woman in my family. My cousin wraps herself in a towel & slides on her flip flops. I mimic her & trudge back to the hotel where she has her own bed. The light is gone & I shiver. Shadows lengthen on the asphalt. You have nothing to be afraid of, she says. I believe her.