Margaret Zhang used to go by Mar-gar-gar. She is a three-time Foyle Young Poet
and has attended writing workshops at the Iowa Young Writers' Studio and the
Kenyon Review Young Writers Workshop, among others. Read her work in DIALOGIST,
Gigantic Sequins, Words Dance, Cadaverine, the Foyle Young Poets Anthology, and other
journals. Next year, she plans to attend the University of Pennsylvania (U.S.A.), where
she will continue to appreciate memes.
Nightfall: my airborne limbs unravel
from their spools and fuse into a square
pyramid. From a distance, a wire
blueprint. Here, yellow earth thirsts
for water & green &
leaves in reverie. & here, slumber
gives no drought, no revolvers, only
knives, so I hide in the graveyard
until Father arrives, sleepwalking without limbs:
just a head & torso & groin. What is a man
without limbs? Lying in my coffin when day
breaks, I do not startle
at my cockroach anatomy. My body
is a martyr who only wants
to save herself: too repulsive to peel
from her deathbed, to dismember
her father a second time. No, I am not
lonely. Kafka was wrong after all.
Do cranes float? How many flicks
to the other side of the kiddie pool?
Tell it like a joke: why does the crane
cross the abyss? After all, it never
makes it to the other side. How many
flicks to drown? And how many kids
to mend a crane? How sparse the paper
to dissolve upon contact, like candyfloss
on tongue? Kneeling at the pool's edge,
Noah groped the origami beings, decapitated
by scissors. Everything was mutilated, even
the stringy clots and hems of my panties. Yet
I did not become a crane that day, but a kiddie
pool, whose water bloomed all over
with viscous clot. How frigid my body, how
deep-seated the cuts. How Noah's vessels
descended into my underbelly and lingered.
The last human passed
while sucking a dandelion
stem. It was the coldest day
of summer, the sun—white,
carpal vision. On a buggy,
he arrived, chest afflicted
with devil's ivy, fingers
gripping the vehicle how
a spirit clings to the body
before release. How
the windows opened wide
to swallow the fog, where
his ghost hovered
like evaporated water
from a Sunday baptism.
All I wanted: a cure
for his burden. For what
is apothecary if not cure?
We swayed, slabs of ghost
on our lilting shoulders.
How cruel to give Atlas
the world and nothing else.
Why Bile Was Invented
I died a painless death
& then revived myself
with bile, sour & rancid,
of a cow I'd slaughtered. Tasted
like spite. Pre-death, I'd infused
the fluid with Mother's soup
to kill: that is to say, I put it
to good use. To be used is
to use. Putrid overpowers
rationality & no one uses me
without my consent. Screaming,
my rebirth arrived
at the cathedral with ankles
too wobbly to stand.
In Mother's hands, she yowled
like a sitar. More than
primal instinct drove
her, how she gnawed
at Mother's corneas.
She wanted to hurt.
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