your ancestry is immortalized in a silver bullet. cut
the rotting carcass of your mother tongue & seal yourself
into an empty promise. a silent bid for your grandchildren: ripen the
soles of your callused feet, hide your footprints so that they won’t
tell you to go back to your country. erasure comes in many forms: the tail end of a nebula, the purposeful censorship, the fatigue. when
you first arrived in this country, you told me about the golden arches hanging
like effigies in a stolen sky. you listened to swan lake on the radio because it
was the only english song you knew, threw your body into the depths of
the hudson to shred your sanguine wings. to be american is to fold
your body into a sacred song, to be a martyr plastered on front-page headlines, beloved for your sacrifice in the name of patriotism.
when your corpse is buried, you are only remembered by your
four grandchildren: one for each year you lost in service to this
battered country. they nail your obituary to the ginkgo tree in
your garden. outside, a lone dove sings into the night.
Grace Zhang (she/her) is a poet and student from the United States. Her work has been recognized by the Alliance of Young Artists & Writers and the Live Poets Society of New Jersey. She is an editor for Polyphony Lit and editor-in-chief of The Lunar Journal. When she’s not writing, she enjoys making new playlists on Spotify, grape hi-chews, and mystery novels.