Lucy Zhang writes, codes, and watches anime. Her work has appeared in
Atticus Review, The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Pidgeonholes,
Jellyfish Review, and elsewhere. Find her at
or on Twitter @Dango_Ramen.

Rice Cake

We soak the knife in warm water, crush rice with a wood mallet, slice it into cubes: dipped in soybean flour, stirred with dates; no one watches as we stuff them down our esophagus, let it layer up & coat our bones & smile to a clean plate, our insides all glue & honey. At night we slip off our skin, peel away the rice, rub our bones down with alcohol, seal our skin back up & we scoop the rice in our hands, pull at a red date, measure how long the rice stretches by counting years passed since sugar rations, since milk was only for pregnant & nursing women—generations spilled like melted lychee once suspended in ice, an eternity—so consider the stegosaurus, a herbivore, plated with armor, tail tipped with spikes & how hard it'd be to drill down to organs—how easy it is to lose & find our vertebrae.

Eye Hole

The back of my eye: an orb, a moon, with a macular hole, carved out by a metal straw, jelly receding from the retina, stretching like taffy until the straw falls through & now chair legs bend like ocean waves, pencils wilt like top-heavy flowers whose petals drown in water & smoke, crisp crimson leaves blur into drifting ozone—they want to fill me with a bubble, absorbed into the cavity, empty until full, if it'll fill, if the bubble doesn't just hover there, a vacuum, space between me & what I'm looking for: you, hiding behind my eye, stitching cobwebs into my field of vision; me, wondering where you've gone, trying to squish the floating spider, its endoskeleton cracked snapped popped until soft, fluid, jellyfish tentacles squirm across my pupil, detached & free & long gone & nothing to see & I can't see.

We Will Eat Ourselves

The boys hid two hamsters in their locker, left to class,
held pissing contests at the urinals, ignored their teachers
because they weren't taking the gao kao—they were
leaving for American universities—the elitist of educations,
slurped down duck blood and vermicelli soup

come Monday, one boy pried open his locker, scraps of grid
paper fluttering down like ash, and in the cage, in between
one hamster's front teeth: a pebble-sized red mass,
the softest remains of a head, a bite of a brain,
and the second hamster—a stump of matted fur.

Why can't you just be nice?

what if a drone could see through the roof top
buzzing a drywall's breadth away from soap-sudded hair
scanning the tops of breasts and shoulder blades
and that odd triangle of hair at the apex of legs, casually
like smeared sesame paste in soy milk.
wrapped in a towel, you look up, see a shower head,
draw a face into a smile—all edge no teeth
at the camera completing its 360.

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