Candice Wang: The Palace Within

Before I learned the word uterus, I knew all about the baby palace. That’s what my mama called it, placing her palms over the soft lower region of her stomach. I’d stare down at my naked abdomen and wonder—how could there be a whole palace built within me? Was I that cavernous?  To me, the uterus wasn’t a mass of delicate tissue, arching fallopian tubes, and pulsing blood vessels. It was a glittering hall carved directly into the skeleton of my body— something akin to the Hall of…

Jaja Hashimoto: I Cut My Own Tongue Off

I had a tongue that held three languages by a single thread.  When I was in second grade, I had a tutor who was the brightest among all. He had a Masters in Animal Science and a PhD in stem cell research. He attended National Taiwan University and graduated top of his class.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays, my tutor would come and help me with English, Math, Science, and everything else I needed help with. Every time we had class, he would assign vocabulary homework to help with my weak word…

“The Other End” & other Poems by Averylin Cummins

Averylin is a high school student, athlete, and activist; a third generation Taiwanese-American seeking to reconnect with her culture; and an aspiring writer and poet who explores race, gender, and sexuality through her work, using it to observe and reflect not only the world but also her own experiences. From Averylin: "Three Strong Emotions" started as a rant, typed sloppily into the notes app of my phone. I wrote "Anger" first, but it felt incomplete because that wasn't the…

Nnadi Samuel: “Subject Lessons” (Poems)

We are so honored to share "Subject Lessons," a collection of poetry by Nnadi Samuel. Samuel is a recipient of the prestigious Falun Gong Poetry Prize, which got him a two-year scholarship in National Dong Hwa College in Hualien to study Chinese Language & Literature. Nnadi Samuel (he/him/his) holds a B.A in English & literature from the University of Benin. His works have been previously published in Suburban Review, Seventh Wave Magazine, North Dakota Quarterly, Quarterly…

“Elegy for a Century Egg” and Other Poems by Katy Hargett-Hsu

  Kathryn Hargett-Hsu 徐凯蒂 is an incoming MFA candidate in poetry at Washington University in St. Louis. A 2018 Best New Poet, she is the recipient of fellowships from Kundiman, the Bucknell Seminar for Undergraduate Poets, Belgrade Art Studio, and UAB. Most recently, she received the Barksdale-Maynard Prize in Poetry and was selected as a National YoungArts Foundation Finalist in Writing. Find her in Field Notes on Survival (2020), Best New Poets (2018), Anomaly, The…

Jennifer Co: 1993 – 1998

I am 21 and I am waiting. I wait for the university to spit me back out into the world, for the past four years to suddenly, and unabashedly, mean something. I wait and I watch friends and roommates and chosen strangers arrive upon the doorsteps to the rest of their lives: grad school admissions and gap years and start ups, sprinkled with full time offers from the companies spilling from my father’s news coverage sometimes, a marriage every now and then, a baby shower. I think of the palpable…

Huiru May Huang: On Encountering a Stranger  

My students were putting on Little Red Riding Hood today and I was the Big Bad Wolf, so I showed up to Sister Marianne’s door in my wolf costume. Sister Marianne is my ninety year-old neighbor. She works at the church next to my school, so we’d walk to work together every day, rain or shine. We wouldn’t say much to each other, but her petite presence always puts my mind at ease. Prolonged silences like these used to drive me out of my skin, but I’ve grown to understand the solitude that…

Ashley Chuyun Cheng: A-ma, I Hope You Can Hear Me Over Zoom

I don’t usually remember my dreams, but the night before my grandmother passes, I have one that I remember with unparalleled clarity. In it, I’m pushing a shopping cart around at the Carrefour in Pingtung, Taiwan, arguably one of the great retail loves of my life. (For those unfamiliar with Carrefour, it’s essentially Costco but better, as hard as that is to believe. You can get all sorts of groceries and appliances and there’s a whole floor of restaurants and crane games, so it makes…

Stamp Thief, by Ying-Ann (Annie) Chen

FEATURE PHOTO ADAPTED FROM Dave Weatherall on Unsplash The fire ate loudly. It spit ashes everywhere as it gorged down our offerings. “The gods are hungry today,” my grandma warned. The fire burst in a sudden uproar, slapping its chopsticks down on the lady susan, demanding more. The offerings were for our ancestors, why were the gods taking what wasn’t for them? I tried to feed the flames a paper iPhone, but my grandma jerked my hand back.   “You are too greedy,” she chastised…

Convenience Store Encounters, by Katie Chen

HONORABLE MENTION, HIGH SCHOOL CATEGORY The alarm beeps. And where there is no response or movement from the lump of blankets on the bed, it beeps again, with increased urgency. And beeps again. And vibrates with increased frequency. And when it seems like the alarm is about to vibrate itself off the counter it’s sitting on, a hand emerges itself from its home on the bed and smashes the alarm clock hard. Twice. Finally, there is blissful silence. It is 6:31 AM.  Carla stumbles out of her…