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Asian American Translations, by Molly Zhu

Updated: Jul 14, 2021

I only know Power from the other side of my mother’s eyes

when she asks me, what does it mean, my only job

is to dress the slur in casual-wear: in gauze, in cotton,

something ephemeral like a dandelion seed

tell her, “nothing important”… then I tuck

the truth deep in my throat, stow it in my lungs

where I know it will bloom through my lips, on a bad day.

In the drugstore my fingers sprout into pliers, I uproot the splinters

that the store clerk flings, I pour a hot red lacquer

over my parents’ broken sentences, turn them into rubies.

Word-painting is my specialty now, and I try to feel something holy in

my calligraphy. The mornings are when I swallow

my optimism like a sugar pill—I tell myself to dream of beautiful things

until I peel back the rind of the earth, and I watch fathers

like my own knocked to the ground like overripe persimmons—

I wonder, what year is it this time?

Because the fruits feel eternal, glacier-ing in the sun,

oozing timeless juices from blistering soft skin,

and I am the child who witnesses this ache, who feels it in each lifetime that I live,

for what is a painful history, if not an old story holding hands with

a new story, holding hands with today, and with me

when I wear a blue medical mask like a sling over my mouth,

as I watch

and I watch

and I watch.

Shadows of a building and two trees seen along a wall across a road
Wall With Shadows, by Bobby Miller

Molly Zhu is a new poet and she lives in Brooklyn, New York. For her day job, she is a corporate attorney and in her free time, she loves thinking about words and reading and eating. She has previously been published in the Rising Phoenix Review and the Ghost City Press. Her work is forthcoming in Uppagus.


Bobby Miller is a librarian and amateur photographer. He has work forthcoming in Atticus Review, Feral: A Journal of Poetry and Art, Journal of Erato, and Wrongdoing Magazine. His website is With his wife, Sandie Friedman, he publishes a project combining photography and flash fiction:


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