Restraint on 100 Chinese Silences

My mother sews her grief to herself.
To burden the family, the weight of gold,
oblong-shaped ingot, crumbling into disentangled fortune.
There is jet-black ink calligraphy framed
on our household wall, in her handwriting:
Receiving is only silver to giving.


My ah-yeh tucked quietude underneath tongue.
Turned sadness into a mute jester face,
but in translation: We are speechless for violence,
wars raged against nonbelievers asking.
Memories rush front-and-back of a lifeless house,
7,886 miles before us.


In tribute to downturned smiles,
a conversation with my dad about religion,
seated beneath the Bodhi tree, Buddha’s last words
being an instruction of change.
Shortly, I became Monkey King,
crowned sutra tightening letters on a lonesome page.

Ariel So is originally from Hong Kong and has lived in Singapore and the United States. Her poetry has appeared in Sprague Gallery, Our Sound, Protest Through Poetry, Bee Infinite Publishing, and elsewhere. She graduated summa cum laude from Scripps College with a BA in English and Creative Writing Emphasis. Currently, she is an MFA Candidate in Poetry at Columbia University.