herbal By Maggie Sun


grandma plucks a brilliant orange opium flower

and crushes it in her mortar. centuries of abuse,

death, and green skin make our tea this afternoon.

the pot she drips hot water into is nearly translucent

like the history of the country we are drinking from.

i wonder what the rickshaw boys would think to see

this ignorant tradition. perhaps they would look away

and continue yelling for their next customer.

perhaps they would know, think sadly to their own

browning pipes, warn us through their drooping eyes.

trade is money, trade is silk, golden embroidery, spice, but

trade is also death. the poppy melts a little. evaporates.

i wonder if grandma knows.

By Maggie Sun


Maggie Sun currently lives in Arcadia, California. She loves collecting phone cases and hairpins. Find her on Instagram @maggiesuun!


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