Back to Issue Thirty-Three

The Way to a Chinese Daughter’s Heart


for Richmond, BC

Imagine clouds salting wildfires
shaped like spicy tofu.

The girl I love stirs incense into Taiwanese films.
Spreads it over my eyes. So why did we sneak into

a Buddhist temple—I was raised Christian, after all.
In this dream, we’ve got bamboo flutes

for legs, woks for hair. The Chinese goddess, Nüwa,
wears an apron. Teaches us to drink the wind.

We flee to a city clotted with condos / cold /
coral-cheeked children / Cantonese

God, the first Michelin-starred chef. Is that who taught you
how to appreciate real food? The girl nods, strains noodles

through an ice bath. I say they resemble cut
umbilical cords. Not funny.

Then, listen to this iridescence, she insists.

Wonton soup gauzy with lime / light. Our lips:
gelatin, suckling takoyaki.

False jade earrings dye my ears green
as time sours the broth. So when do we

dance the night away? A paper lantern blooms
in my stomach. We laugh ourselves

all the way to breakfast, Dim Sum, No Face’s belly.
I seal our smiles inside red pocket money.

I want the girl’s face lit by night market signs,
neon veining her head

like a halo. Or a stir fry squid.


Stephanie Chang is a Chinese-Canadian poet and rising freshman at University College London. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Adroit Journal, Diode, Kenyon Review, Storm Cellar, The Margins, and Penn Review, and recognized by the Anthony Quinn Foundation, League of Canadian Poets, and more. She has participated in the Adroit Mentorship Program and Kenyon Young Writers Workshop. Stephanie is the author of the chapbook Night Market in Technicolor (Ghost City Press) and currently interns for sinθ.


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