Published on Academy of American Poets (

Masochism of the Knees

Who is the girl forced to kneel on dried chickpeas to atone for the sin of being alive?

In the dream blindfold and bandage are one.

My hands go numb as I carry dried chickpeas.

In my head there is a voice that says “naked forest” and

“a tiny photograph that is passed between hands in the dark.”

Why doesn’t the girl on the floor of the world talk?

Because she is a wound on the earth’s hide.

Not mouth.

Do you understand?

Wound, not mouth.



From The Sunflower Cast a Spell to Save Us From the Void (Nightboat Books, 2021) by Jackie Wang. Copyright © 2021 Jackie Wang. Used with the permission of Nightboat Books. 


Jackie Wang

Jackie Wang is the author of the poetry collection The Sunflower Cast a Spell to Save Us from the Void (Nightboat, 2021), which was longlisted for the National Book Award.

Date Published: 2021-01-26

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