three cups (三杯鸡*) By Corine Huang

three cups (三杯鸡*)

you toast with a soupspoon
and a fist raised to moonlight,
a poet’s lonely breath through you
and wind in their willows–
like chorus of solitude
harmonized sweet,
and tart, fermented
crushed rice under your teeth–
the taste of sharp ale,
bitter spittle.
irons out your nose, says
prudence ill-fits your wrinkles,
breaks putrid congeal
and a lean pig’s cry
at sputtering fat. you try
to inhale like her worked hands
wafting over silken sheets;
treat it like boon, a preserve–
nonessential, non-exhausted
non-compromised gift.
you learn to pour soy
by quivering bottleneck–
tilt back, until
some pulse in the chest
seizes your wrist,
spasms it straight
til bronze meets xanthic
and fades to amber glisten.
but you do not do
and you do not
do, because ancestry screeched,
halted by your doorstep
made prissy nose and graceless tongue
stutter against path to ambrosial
and jittered hands flit to excess and ruin.
laolao pearled chicken onto rice
and you choked on a bone.

*a traditional Chinese dish pronounced “san bei ji,” meaning “three-cup chicken”

By Corine Huang


Corine Huang is a high school writer from Hong Kong. She spends her time searching for astonishment. When she’s not writing, she enjoys listening to Japanese city pop and watching arthouse films. She hopes that you’re having a wonderful day!

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