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Girl wrapped in bitter
gourd vine
Girl wrapped in bitter
gourd vine

Stephanie Choi

After Saeed Jones

             Amidst these rows

sowed with seeds of bitter gourd, I 

am the undeserving grandchild.

How I wear the word: extra rice weight

caught between the crisped, browned

and glowing grains crept

to the edge of the pot. I stick 

to centuries-old superstition.


Granddaughter who is no one

granddaughter who is yet to come

I need you

to scrape these edges clean. 

Roll around in these glittering fields

those before have never known.


See how my eyes become milk for you? 

Baskets of fruits & fake money

delivered to all your ancestors’ graves. Call me

and I’m at your side, one incense burning

behind my ear. Ask me 

and I’ll make sure

you’re the best fed, with chicken.


Good luck pecking at my feet. 

I could be the girl holding nothing

but palms pressed together

and bowed three times

            into the smoke. 

STEPHANIE CHOI lives, works, and plays in Western Massachusetts. She is a proud graduate of the University of Arizona, where she studied English & Education, and led one of the nation’s largest student-run sustainability organizations. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Cosmonauts Avenue, New Ohio Review, Gordon Square Review, and elsewhere. She enjoys baking vegan treats and where her mind arrives during a long run.

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