(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Creative Writing

Poem: Strange(r)

A poem about a young girl still grappling with her sexuality in the context of her culture. 
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/becky01px2023/" target="_self">Becky Zhong</a>

Becky Zhong

April 6, 2022

Honeysuckle lip grazes my neck;  

Body a pasture for her feasting. We dine, 

Then, let ambiguous tunes hammer our 

Corkscrew bodies into alliance — dance 

Because we can(’t). 

Night tumbles over features as we breathe in 

Hot syllables. Kiss: tongue dyed stygian. 

So cryptic I fold at the sound of her voice, 

Sounding like mine. 

Come the sun, rushed as always. It oxidizes 

Us till my lungs bloat with the scent of a girl. 

Leaves at dawn and I don’t ask for her name. 

Should I have? 

Perhaps the nectar pool she left behind, cupped 

Between the hollows of my collarbone, is surname 

Enough. I sip from it like mama does holy water. 

Bees exhaust sweet divine from my Atlantic — filtering 

Through skin. Where I’m from, we wash down bumbles 

Like one would pills: handfuls at a time, choking. 

Mama presses her lips to my forehead. As if 

Checking for fever. She asks who it is. I tell her he

Kisses well. Silence cowers as if only then will I hear 

Her name. 

My nails are spotted with dirt, hoarded over years of 

Digging a grassland in coal. Let me honor the untitled 

Abiding in trachea. Funneling.  

This stranger of a girl can graze all she wants, I say.  

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