my favorite part of the birthday cake is licking icing off my finger. i remember when we first met it was a little like swiping the rose off my cake. chugging a bowl of ice cream. everything about you but wrapped in sugar. you’re the reason i never eat chocolate. i remember once i wore gumdrops in my hair like a crown. i must have been very young. i don’t normally remember stuff like this, candy folded into batter. i love that story about those two kids and the witch’s gingerbread house: i always pictured it raining. sweet icicles melting down. soggy gingerbread foaming into bubbly brown lumps. rainbow sprinkle puddles. peppermint storm cloud. i’m not really that hungry anymore but i’ll have a second helping. you were always my second helping: i only liked your voice when i felt i could taste it. in your mouth, rain and sugar. everything about you felt a little like guilt.
So you’re born in the capital of the world/ &they’ll never let you escape. Action/reaction. Remember: every time you talk about your mother, do it/ with your eyes closed. Remember: Your name is a seed that/ your body grew from. Remember: the one time you loved, sunburst dust embedded/ your fingertip &one day there won’t be a radio song/ to cry over. Everything is want. There is no need/ to need. A hypocrisy: you believe in no gods/ but you think they can be created. A contradiction: there is only one god/ &all of them are you.
NANCY HUANG grew up in America and China. She was a finalist in the James F. Parker Award for poetry, a 2015 YoungArts finalist in fiction, a Gold Key recipient in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and a winner of the Michigan Young Playwrights Festival. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Vinyl, Bodega, This Bridge Called Language, Barrio Writers Anthology, Winter Tangerine Review, and others. She lives in Austin.