Antidote for Yellow Skin

I hate travel, but at least my skin
is yellow & blistered. Meaning everything atomizes
to my wildfire touch & nothing
is ever cold—just lacks motion. But
I do like train cars reminiscent
of an observation deck from which Mother
made rapid small talk with a lanky college boy.
Their dialect, a sixth flavor. I was in China & lonely
& we were moving towards a bigger
city because in Hunan, we were in
the middle of nowhere. Which is to say
we were in the middle of everywhere
else. On that train, everything seared.
How we devoured sour fish like water
in that summer fervor because we knew Hunan
passengers wouldn’t scorn the latent fragrance of their own
land. My brother thinks of Chinese American
as hyphenated, but I understand the cavity
between the words, how our throbbing
torsos can split open at any second. A whole is still
everything without its parts, just without / everything.


Margaret Zhang used to go by Mar-gar-gar. She is a three-time Foyle Young Poet and has attended writing workshops at the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio and the Kenyon Review Young Writers Workshop, among others. Read her work in SOFTBLOWGigantic SequinsWords DanceGlass Poetry Press, the Foyle Young Poets Anthology, and other journals. Next year, she plans to attend the University of Pennsylvania, where she will continue to appreciate memes.