Pompeii

by Chuqiao Yang

Chuqiao Yang’s work has previously appeared in Ricepaper 20(3), Arc 77, Prism International 52(4), filling Station 51, Grain 37(4) and 37(1), Contemporary Verse 2 34(3), Room Magazine 35(1), and on CBC. In 2011, she was the recipient of two Western Magazine Awards. Most recently, Yang was a finalist for the 2015 Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers.

The cave wall speaks of a woman: her art was
intercourse. Here, once, she left lovers
to quiet deaths on rocks, stone edges softened,
vestiges of a warmer century. A twisted
bird of prey, a tourist says. But,
you’d almost think the cave wall spoke
of a woman whose art was praying,
back turned to a man, knees bent,
body arched, god-searching. A brave, dying
bird of prayer, she said. Colours, clay, heat,
Pompeii’s countryside melting her body,
the cave wall speaking of a woman whose art was
pleasure; exhalations come a long way, vestiges
of her arched torso, her worship, painted on the wall,
la petite mort in the history of women,
little deaths in the history of survival.


Chuqiao Yang’s work has previously appeared in Ricepaper 20(3), Arc 77, Prism International 52(4), filling Station 51, Grain 37(4) and 37(1), Contemporary Verse 2 34(3), Room Magazine 35(1), and on CBC. In 2011, she was the recipient of two Western Magazine Awards. Most recently, Yang was a finalist for the 2015 Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers.

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