From By Annie Ma


I come from
the Silicon Valley,
twinkling clouds and sweet August winds —
Jeez, why are there so many Asians here?
bitter herbal medicine and unlucky number 4.

I come from
full-face sun visors and shameful Ying-ah-leesh,
pandering smiles and tacky designer clothes—

I come from
kitchen drawers stuffed with grocery bags,
a tiresome diet of millet porridge and rice,
fetid tofu and scratchy chinaware,
Sriracha, Kikkoman, and Lee Kum Kee.

I come from
If you don’t receive a good letter, you can go live on the streets.
a classical piano training I can’t recall anymore,
debate and chemistry and community service and journalism,
captain to intern to president to editor-in-chief,
So what if it’s Friday? If your friends are relaxing, this is a time for you to get ahead.

I am from
the day I joined “subtle asian traits” on Facebook, 1.4 million strong,
I am from
the day I watched the first episode of 流星花园,
I am from
the day I made wontons, mother’s own recipe
with a whiff of Sriracha,
I am from
the day I discovered rapper Rich Brian—
“Do the shit for the people that look like me.”
I am
chemistry and mathematics in a sleek blue-bottled classroom,
I am
poetry along the whispering August trails,

I come from
a history, a family,
and a culture that is mine.

By Annie Ma

Previously Publised in Eunoia Review


Annie is a high school senior at The Harker School in San Jose, where she is the editor-in-chief of the school’s literary magazine, HELM. Her poetry and prose have won several Scholastic Writing Awards. She is the founder and president of Book Bank (, a nonprofit organization that serves underprivileged communities by collecting and distributing free books to K-8 school children.

Hymen By Noelle McManus


“It’s going to hurt,” she told me,
“and we’re going to bleed.”
Such was the burden saddled upon us.
Boys looked her way and she looked away
and the blinds were always too thin.
She rose, stumbling, from the water with an arm
shielding both her breasts, crying
my name.
As if there was anything I could do about it.

It’s been a long time
since I turned in that direction,
since I lay awake with her to pose questions
about their bodies and the hair on their stomachs
and how long we had to wait for them to spill.
Fear planted itself on us
like the barnacles sucking on the dock,
a slit
in the gaping maw I knew inside me.
Our teachers told us to pray a Hail Mary
if we went too far.
“Don’t let him go in,” they said.
“Don’t ever let him go in.”
Some nights I would undress and face myself in the mirror
and imagine Mary walking in my skin.

She’s happy now,
hangs off the arm of a good Catholic boy with tanned skin
and short, fat fingers.
I want to ask her,
does it hurt you?
She stumbles from the water, thighs
split open
by the edge of the boat,
and he barks a laugh out at her.
I want to ask her,
does he lay you down like a bride?
does he make you bleed?
Some nights Mary crawls into bed beside me
and says she knows I want it.

By Noelle McManus


Noelle McManus is a twenty-year-old writer from Long Island, New York who studies linguistics, Spanish, and German. Her work has been published in The Women’s Review of Books and UMass Amherst’s Jabberwocky.

National Poetry Month Prompts: 2020

In celebration of National Poetry Month, we will post one new writing prompt every day. I thank every poet who uses these prompts as inspiration for new writing. I greatly enjoy the opportunity to read your work! I encourage each of you to consider submitting your new poetry for a future issue of Rising Phoenix Review.

If you are looking for inspiration for new poetry, you can view the full lists of prompts beneath this post. I will add a new prompt to this list each day this month, so feel free to check this list often. I hope these prompts prove to be a launching pad for your creativity!



April 1: Write a poem to your best friend.

April 2: Write a poem about your pet.

April 3: Write about your first memory of snow.

April 4: Write about a time you were forgiven.

April 5: Write a poem about what the light touches.

April 6: Look up & watch the clouds. Now, write what you witnessed.

April 7: Describe something you want right now but can’t have.

When you are ready, please consider submitting your new poems to Rising Phoenix Review.

Lilith By Marilyn Melissa Salguero


We believe ourselves infinite by what the first lovers tore from the earth
& bless this bedroom the same way they did
By tearing away at the parts of us God doesn’t want to see

And I know I will be your undoing.
Love always is.

I take his communion on my knees,
carve angels wings into his back
Raise my voice with the choir and cry out for salvation,
hands clasped around another
begging for the sweet ecstasy of release
Until we both drown in sweat

There is something so holy in the way that I gave myself over to him
In blind faith
Open palmed and bowed head
Eager to serve
To sacrifice
Because everything sacred is born from blood,
And is that not what love was conceived from too?

A desire so powerful it made a man doubt his devotion,
Isn’t the only difference between a prayer and a secret who hears it?

What a testament it is,
That you can’t speak of the thing that scares you
Unless you call it by something other than it’s name

So I do not call it love even after I refuse to lie


Does the taste of me still linger in your mouth when you kiss Eve?

Can she taste temptation?
Does the sweet nectar leave her mouth dry,
And with sharp teeth
sensitive and begging for holy waters to flood and
quench a greedy and growing thirst

Staining his fingers sinful from tearing at the flesh of a forbidden fruit,
beckoning it
to blossom for him
To Come
And again
And again

Exalting in
Devouring in
And then mourning.

Until his hands are too empty.

And wet.

And I wonder

Does she knows my name?

 By Lilith By Marilyn Melissa Salguero


Marilyn Melissa Salguero (she/her/hers) is a Guatemalan poet who puts the SALT in Salt Lake City, Utah. She is the human equivalent of red wine, crushed velvet and using humor as a poor coping mechanism. Melissa her work centers on her life, relationships, and identity. She has been featured on Write About Now Poetry and Ink & Nebula. She was a member of the Westminster 2018 & 2019 CUPSI team and was a finalist at the 2018 Utah Arts Festival Indie Slam. When not yelling about white boys or making God metaphors, Melissa can be found feeding her online shopping addiction, blasting Gloria Trevi, or living up to her title as the quintessential “bitter ex girlfriend poet”. Her work (along with her emotional overflow) can be found on twitter @_Miss_Marilyn.

The day the sun vanished By Nikita Bhardwaj

The day the sun vanished

my sisters and I spin
dreams of willowy gold as ruby
rain raps on our windows and doors.

outside, streams of dust glint
where sparkling tides once crashed.
my eldest sister’s trembling hands clasp mine.

together, we mourn silver rivers
of vapor, mourn the constellations that
stretched across purple mountains,
mourn the flickering winds of sticky summers past.

my legs are numb,
huddled against these wooden floorboards, as
the sky whistles a baleful warning.

I squeeze my eyes shut, listen intently to the
final breaths of a jaded planet,
hoping I’ll snag the secret to saving the world
on a stray breeze.

our ancestors told us: pray
to the stars that the violet dust never
settles, pray that this rotted
apricot never bares its foul
insides to the universe.

but they bled the planet dry.
peeled away its flesh,
plucked its jewels to adorn their foreheads,
let its emerald glaciers drain
down their fingers and thighs.

so as crackling comet storms tear
at our cloud belt, my sisters and I rummage
through centuries of bellicose madness, and
curse the fools who sowed
poison into sinless soil.

By Nikita Bhardwaj


Nikita Bhardwaj is a high school junior in Princeton, New Jersey. Her work has been recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and has been published in TeenInk magazine. When she’s not editing or telling herself to write, you can find her sleeping, studying for a chem test, or watching the Great British Baking Show. Check out her start-up journal at!

An open letter to girls at Coachella By Kanchan Naik

An open letter to girls at Coachella

Who like sporting bindis and calling them “eye-dots”,
the california sun melting their makeup as
they breathe in the desert air.

Wouldn’t it be funny, if your third eye just
happened to open that day, and a fleshy indian snake
slithered down your spray-tanned neck,
hissing in your ear,
as an elephant tail whacked the iced kombucha
out of your hand.

Wouldn’t it be funny if you happened to find
a thread of prayer beads in your matted hair,
and your skin started to look purple and
there was the stinging tip of Shiva’s trident
nearly piercing the flesh of your chest.

Wouldn’t it be funny, if suddenly the culture
you’ve enjoyed picking apart just happened
to cling to you, in a way that isn’t
normal (to you)
directed (at you)
or perhaps most importantly,
convenient (for you)

By Kanchan Naik

This poem is the recipient of a Scholastic Gold National Key.


Kanchan Naik is a junior at The Quarry Lane School in Dublin and the Teen Poet Laureate for the City of Pleasanton. When she’s not doodling or writing poetry, she is most likely untangling her earphones or looking for something that happens to be — much like herself — lost.