Immigrant Daughter’s Postcard to Hong Kong
deliver me hong kong / full-bodied / wailing for her freedom / is finally here / no continent can compare / her joy relapsing / outliving this era / i want her survival / so this comes true / did you know cockroaches / will outlast a nuclear explosion / & the police won’t / mother father / did you believe me / when i said i wanted / to stand / enveloped in white gas / to deliver hong kong / clean / into a whatsapp chat / talk one-eyed faces / that ache / the moon’s shine away / i am no face / of revolution / this tongue / cut too well by the butcher / cantonese stripped & acoustic / raw for you / raw for burial / on a crowded hill / we have no more room / for death / so let’s skin a dragon / inside out / chokehold the flag / underwater / our bodies burdened / our bodies / they want to burn / red / don’t speak / if it’s not for your people / if not for yuen long / if not chater garden / wringing blood to smear / over the chief executive’s window / we sling our fists / where beijing’s skyline / can’t touch / you will mistake this action / for polluting civility / you will usher the students / back into their seats / button shut school uniforms / you / who wish you had this right / who will wish you never tried / to relinquish it / as lawmakers wade in oceans / of fine print / the print is loud / the press delivers me / hong kong / i am sick / of playing observer / i want to deliver hong kong / home / the way i remember us / safe
When the rain shudders, I kiss
the lip of the guillotine.
In the thick, my mother presses
her shoulder to a lamppost.
A scene where fireflies circle
backwards, bay for a blade
to crown my neck. I am imagining
you with a scepter of cicadas,
head crusted with gold
as the moon loses her youth.
I stare at my hunger, divorcing
silence in the name of sacrifice.
I can only be so strong. I’ll sing
if nobody else will: When someone
singed the oak last night
I woke screaming, my voice
everything but my own.
I am not here to waste time
over false gods, the sins I swept
underneath my bed. I only ask
you listen, you take what you must
before I can no longer bear
to part with it.
Stephanie Chang (張雅雯) is a high school student from Vancouver, BC, Canada. Her work appears or is forthcoming in The Kenyon Review, Cosmonauts Avenue, The Adroit Journal, and The Berkeley Poetry Review, among others. She is a National Gold Medalist in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, recipient of the Anthony Quinn Foundation Scholarship for Literary Arts, and runner-up for the 2019 Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize.