15: Old Wives’ Tales on Which I Was Fed

December 14, 2018 · 5:00
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Old Wives’ Tales on Which I Was Fed
by Jenny Xie

The number of rice grains left in your supper bowl
foretells how many pockmarks will appear on your lover’s face

Sleeping on your back will flatten your head’s shape
but sleep on your stomach and you’ll induce nightmares

Eating the fat inside the crab sharpens the mind
so too the roe extracted from the steamed fish

Never let your feet touch cold water from the bathtub or
the sea on days when you’re menstruating

Pinch the nose before age six when the cartilage is pliable
so the nasal bridge will grow narrow and high

Drift asleep with your hair wet
and you’ll suffer from decades of migraines

You’ll wreck your eyesight poring over pages in low light
but looking at all things green from a distance can coax it back

 

“Old Wives Tales on Which I Was Fed” from “Eye Level” by Jenny Xie. Copyright © 2018 Graywolf Press.