POMPEII BY CHUQIAO YANG
Chuqiao Yang's writing has previously been published in the Puritan (2016 Supplement), Ricepaper, Arc, Prism, Filling Station, Grain, CV2, Room, and on CBC. In 2011, she was the recipient of two Western Magazine Awards for a non-fiction piece, “Beijing Notes.” Most recently, she was a finalist for the Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers. She has been featured in 30 under 30: an anthology of Canadian millennial poets (In/Words Press, 2017) and the Unpublished City (International Festival of Authors and BookThug). She is on the editorial board for canthius and is the author of the chapbook, Reunions in the Year of the Sheep with Baseline press.
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.