Isabelle Jia

is a student from San Francisco, CA. Her work has appeared or isforthcoming in Alexandria QuarterlyThe Blueshift Journal, Rising Phoenix Review, and many more. Jia has been recognized as a California Arts Scholar, by the Walt Whitman National Poetry Foundation, and the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. You can find more on her work here.


Garden Girl

i was born
woven in a hue of yellow
obscured in cloudy blue skies.
the ones that fill white wind poppies
with distaste and beauty.

i do not have delicate petals
or the stem of a sought after
girl i am not the sun—
filled with every color there is to love.
only yellow on the
outside
             inside
                           through
come close, look at me
stranded and alone
trivial, in a sandstorm.
in between these barren plains
are my ashes. i may be marigold but
i am still scattered

Self-Portrait In My Mother's Mouth

when mama took me from the sky
she said she looked above the eucalyptus
and the melody of the moon
to see the star that birthed me.

i am girl and i am nestled between
breasts and warmth.
mama’s lips against mine
humming a sleep song
for my mind.
i still have it here—
it goes: uh na, pat, uh na, pat, uh na
sweet girl you will grow a cherry tree
in your stomach if you do not learn to
live on your own.

there are cracks between your thighs
because sometimes we need to let
beauty breathe. i exhale myself into
gravity, let the reflection of my skin
admire itself in lamplight.

and i see
how easy it is to dim myself
in the shadows,
even if i belong in the glow.