Josephine Wu

Louise doesn’t mean to anglicize my name but

she does it anyway because her tongue doesn’t
bend the right way. I won’t think about it except for
tonight when I google translate all the characters:
initially altogether, then bit by bit until the machine
swallows each radical part & spits out a dream.
A dream where I osmanthicize into wine, too bitter
to be white. The machine says jade bud, a thick,
dead flower only borne from wine cups & teapots. I
tell Louise so she can exorcise out a meaning. Wind
up voice to regurgitate syllables into cavities. Ask
why a Chinese last name comes first. I don’t know,
I answer, because I don’t. Something about family &
the way it steeps when skinnied into silence. Two
decades ago, sailing from a tea boat, a smoke-
sobered couple flowered their osmanthus wine into
daughter. They called her 吴璐蓓 for the emerald
slant of the ocean. A name spoken only by a steel-
voiced machine & Louise, when nostalgic & bitter.



Josephine Wu is a sophomore at Georgetown University majoring in English and Economics. She has been published in Eunoia Review, Bitter Fruit Review, and Kalopsia Literary Journal. Besides receiving a nomination for Sundress' Best of the Net in Poetry and an honor as a Commended Prose Finalist for The Adroit Journal, she is also a Lannan Fellow for Poetics and Social Practice at Georgetown. More of her work can be found at