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I am     giving myself    away

as     if the body were    bread— 

an invitation to communion. My name

is pronounced however you’d like.      My lineage

negotiable               whatever

is taught in history textbooks. Reborn  

as  Canton uprising     peonies    

Nanking carved into fractals. My blood

pooled     in the cheeks     of strange men

tasting like a handful    of pennies: all swallow

and rust. This is what we called         baptism

a study in pain tolerance.     How long before the next

breath permutes     becomes swollen  carbon

– stillness     against          the back molars.

jasmine cui


Self-Portrait as Vincent Van Gogh

Love does not want this body

all bird blue and swollen


with hickeys. Naming itself

weeping bruise, saffron, strange


phenomenon. Unfurled

the head is something cruel


asking hands to practice quiet

erasure – sever ears


so that it becomes

a bearable truth.


Asks stomach to unravel into bone

bleach white.




Jasmine Cui is 17 years old and is majoring in Political Science, Economics, and Violin Performance at SUNY Geneseo. She aspires to be like her parents who are first-generation Americans that fought an extraordinary battle for their place in this country. Her work can be found at The Shallow Ends, Glass: a Journal of Poetry, and

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