solar year

a tailbone. a broken piece of my window. the doctor tells me that even though i was born in the southern half of the world, my mother grew up in the north, and so i still carry those things with me. a sequence of stars stitched into fabric, a piece of terracotta that was once a soldier. a lost recipe for fermented tea. everybody in the neighbourhood used to gather around, hands heavy with sugar water until whatever was spoken was hushed and whatever was written down was washed away. an appendix. a neglected habit, an old ritual. when my heart is in the shortest day, my stomach is living in the longest. i curl and turn upside down like an embryo or a fallen whale. i try to say what i mean but intuition only goes so far. the rest must be learned. after all this time, someone will ask me about the day they left and say, is this of any significance to you. but what does the gregorian calendar mean to a girl born under the moon.

Emma Shi (石艾玛) is a writer based in Wellington. Her work has appeared in journals such as Landfall, Poetry Aoteara Yearbook, and Starling. Emma is the creator and editor of Lemon Juice, a zine series on poetry form and breaking the form.

Emma comments: '"solar year" is about the distances of immigration. I now live on a land that is so different to the land of my ancestors, so I wonder what is lost and whether my body remembers what that old land was like. I am still in the process of learning the language that could have been my mother tongue.'


​Poem source details >



Emma Shi's website

Lemon Juice zine website


Photographer credit: Francis Cooke