Ode to My Uvula

by | Jun 27, 2018 | Poetry

No, it’s not the damp star
of a uterus, nor is it the caramel
apple you swallowed many lives
ago. Remember, your uvula is the loudest
blossom on earth. When it’s happy it
jiggles up & down like the rabbit’s
fat pocket watch, though some
nights it’s only a ragdoll that has drunk

a little too much, danced alone
to the wrong music and woke up
in a ballroom full of the eyes
of strangers. At home, your uvula
is a dagger shining with your
mother’s blood. Its iron tongue
has stung the bosoms of those
you most love. Come winter

when all things wither, it will be
the sole eucalyptus tree
hanging from the sky’s underbelly
where the shoreline meets
the woodland’s jagged spine, the sun
bright as a polished crown. On the shore
a legion of men will pick up
fistfuls of mud

to pelt you with, & rocks to weigh
you down. But parting the waves
your uvula is a dead bird
rising from an oil spill off the farthest
coast, holding up its scarlet
beak against the wind, fluttering
its red wings. No one can tell it
what songs to sing.

ODE TO MY UVULA by Gavin Gao

Photo used under CC.

About The Author


Born in Beijing, Gavin Gao graduated with a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing from The University of Michigan Ann Arbor, where he received two Avery Hopwood Awards and the Arthur Miller Arts Award for his writing. His work is forthcoming or has appeared in Poet Lore, HOUSEGUEST, The Rise Up Review, The Michigan Daily and elsewhere.