‘Monologue of a pirate ship that doesn’t have a figurehead, or maybe it did, long ago, but it’s hard to tell now because its bow is encrusted with these ossified clam shells and barnacles, which, during a storm, scuttle about and open up and scream, as though they had mouths’ by Jiaqi Kang

Even the title makes an awe-inspiring vision.

Everything about this piece is exquisite, a raw and raging kind of beauty. Just when you think you’ve got a handle on it – okay, first person narration from the perspective of a ship, that’s clever – the author just keeps troubling our certainty of what that perspective should or could be. In one line we feel that tumble and flip: “my captain shares his rum with me and sometimes falls out of his bed so I can feel his skin”. Worlds turn. Hearts wring. And then in the full breadth of horizons and materials and uses and abuses, come sudden gaps and blank spaces: “I know that the color purple exists, though I have never seen it”. A story of love and loyalty. Poetry on the page.

Published in X-R-A-Y, 2021, and available to read here