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Father, tell me why I was born / imitation of flesh. The years

      have swung shut / behind me and still my lust letters / to silicon

have gone unanswered, still / I have never felt the vitriol

      of a mother / ’s womb. Last night I / met a girl behind the factory,

chipped / my teeth on her shoulder while she clasped / my name

      between her lips. She said / I was most lovable / when I was

the parts / and not the sum. Hungrily, I think of tearing / myself apart:

      my tongue / on her bedstand, toes on the kitchen counter,

mechanical / heart in the closet. The things I would do / for her.

      Tomorrow, I’ll look at you / and remember the movie / where autumn

foams / at the lips of heretics & / everything is coated / in the thick

      semblance of dawn. In the darkness / of the theater, I listened / for

a heartbeat but all / I heard was the grinding of gears in the cavity /

      of my breast—language / of decay written in clockwork.


Father, in my next life, promise me arsonist / of all smaller fires.

      Promise me story / still fleet-footed and blazing, story where I

become more / than steam. And pretend that I never / prayed

      to the veins / of a trembling city, never saw god / written in neon

lights. How / a soot-stained factory girl / left fingerprints

      on the inside / of my heart. Her fingers soft / like a violet blooming

through scrap metal, roots tangled / around stillborn engines. / So

      all those years ago—did the question never occur to you, / so blind

with youth you would do anything / just to see something of your

      own survive? About whether to be alive / meant more than just bone

marrow and unsung mantras. / And about sentience: the hole borne

      into the gut of every wretched / youth. Every father left / with want

in the soles of his shoes. / Every child left pining for transience.

      Around us, the music silvers / into life, pulled taut like a thread

through my cranium.


Father, listen. In the lyrics of songs /

      written by androids there is cannibalism.

Fiona Lu is a student from the San Francisco Bay Area who loves storytelling, no matter what form it may take. Her writing has appeared in Kissing Dynamite and Up the Staircase Quarterly. They are also a founder and editor-in-chief of interdisciplinary literary arts magazine Renaissance Review. She tweets @froitering.
Current Issue
29 May 2023

We are touched and encouraged to see an overwhelming response from writers from the Sino diaspora as well as BIPOC creators in various parts of the world. And such diverse and daring takes of wuxia and xianxia, from contemporary to the far reaches of space!
By: L Chan
The air was redolent with machine oil; rich and unctuous, and synthesised alcohol, sharper than a knife on the tongue.
“Leaping Crane don’t want me to tell you this,” Poppy continued, “but I’m the most dangerous thing in the West. We’ll get you to your brother safe before you know it.”
Many eons ago, when the first dawn broke over the newborn mortal world, the children of the Heavenly Realm assembled at the Golden Sky Palace.
Winter storm: lightning flashes old ghosts on my blade.
transplanted from your temple and missing the persimmons in bloom
immigrant daughters dodge sharp barbs thrown in ambush 十面埋伏 from all directions
Many trans and marginalised people in our world can do the exact same things that everyone else has done to overcome challenges and find happiness, only for others to come in and do what they want as Ren Woxing did, and probably, when asked why, they would simply say Xiang Wentian: to ask the heavens. And perhaps we the readers, who are told this story from Linghu Chong’s point of view, should do more to question the actions of people before blindly following along to cause harm.
Before the Occupation, righteousness might have meant taking overt stands against the distant invaders of their ancestral homelands through donating money, labour, or expertise to Chinese wartime efforts. Yet during the Occupation, such behaviour would get one killed or suspected of treason; one might find it better to remain discreet and fade into the background, or leave for safer shores. Could one uphold justice and righteousness quietly, subtly, and effectively within such a world of harshness and deprivation?
Issue 22 May 2023
Issue 15 May 2023
Issue 8 May 2023
Issue 1 May 2023
Issue 24 Apr 2023
Issue 17 Apr 2023
Issue 10 Apr 2023
Issue 3 Apr 2023
Issue 27 Mar 2023
Issue 20 Mar 2023
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