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genesis in three parts -- poetry by Hanna Wang

i. the book of life

the musty scroll

weighted with each stroke of each ancestor

lost during the Taiping Rebellion

no one remembers their name

my nai nai dug through Xiuning county for

an army lieutenant perished not of bullets but of dysentery

they gave his daughter a military

medal commending his honorable

death but lost his body

still no one remembers their name

ii. the blank page

pantomime my palms press

against the glass

her wrinkled face

my youthful one standing

separated by a windowpane.

I choke on blots of tears

“I love you” stuck in my throat

tomorrow I will not greet her

iii. story of Wang

my nai nai is a fiery

woman behind her paper skin

fire lies in the blue flame of water

only three drops

this is the surname wāng that replaced xiè

lineage dripping down through my blood

and yours, great-great-great grandchildren

the strength of three drops of water


Hanna Wang is a high school senior from Massachusetts. She is a member of The Current literary magazine and writes prose and poetry. In her free time, she enjoys baking patisserie-style recipes and binge-watching foreign language dramas.

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