The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Flowing Water, Falling Flowers by X.H. Collins


This selection, chosen by guest curator and Sundress intern Stephi Cham, is from Flowing Water, Falling Flowers by X.H. Collins, released by MWC Press in 2020. 

Excerpt from Chapter 23: Iris, Three Rivers, 1931, Spring

            It is difficult for me to remember when the trajectory of our lives shifted. Was it when Jasmine walked into our house in her simple, cream-colored cotton jacket, red pants, her long braid reaching to her slender lower back? Was it when You-jun jumped into the lotus pond and Jasmine said she would jump in with him if he didn’t come back? Or was it when Jasmine was sent back to Cloud Gate when You-jun was away in Chengdu? When I close my eyes, all the people and events float in front of me as if I were watching a puppet show, but I cannot remember what the main act was.

            If I had written it down back then, I might have remembered more clearly. But words only come to me now, after twenty years. After Mother was gone forever. After I myself have a grown daughter.


X.H. Collins (she/her) was born in Hechuan, Sichuan Province, China, and grew up in Kangding on the East Tibet Plateau. She has a Ph.D in nutrition and is a retired biology professor. When she’s not teaching or writing, she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, dancing (ballroom and Latin), and cooking. She is the author of the novel Flowing Water, Falling Flowers (MWC Press, Rock Island, IL, 2020). She lives in Iowa with her husband, son, and dog.

Stephi Cham is a freelance editor and author. She received her BM in Music Therapy and Minor in Psychology from Southern Methodist University and is pursuing her MA in Publishing at Rosemont College, where she is the Fiction Editor of Rathalla Review. She wrote the Great Asian-Americans series, published in 2018 by Capstone Press, and her writing has been featured in Strange Horizons.

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