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.

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