The opportunity to sing myself Happy Birthday



Sounds like the woman scrubbing my naked body in Cantonese telling my mom that I’m very beautiful and she translates: it sounds like me trying to make a white guy laugh at a bar he loves as I mock my mother my yiyi my cousins my nana in chorus AI YAH because I’ve requested brown rice instead of white again. I cough up quinoa, cursing all the men who look like him but stand beside crusted cups and beer bottles in the shape of a sink at a party I already hate asking what are you? No lucky bug, no paper plate piled bright with peeled fruit, no sing-song mother tongue to cluck at their thin-lipped lack of originality in. No, where are you from? I’m from fifteen aunties letting me tear the pomegranate apart for myself, encouraging me to eat in a language I can’t speak. “No, where are you from?” I break chopsticks perfectly and completely, and I’ll drown the hand of every rancid man incinerating the small of my spine. Ocean: I’m still losing hubcaps and forgetting how to tell people to fuck off. Sea, show me how. Sink the surprise out of me when men and my mother are still shitty and mean and then sing along. Breakwater, bruises. Ice my birthday cake in old voicemails that still sting, split candles into hot wax and seafoam. She translates: I eat dark chocolate simply for the taste of sweet-bitter loam and salt the same wounds until like the gardener’s last bed, I drain easy. Like the thank you bag in the belly of a blue whale I’ll never meet: I swim sleep.

Jade Hancer lives and resists in Phoenix, Arizona with her many potted plants. She earned her BSN from Washington State University, and when she’s not working as a Registered Nurse, she acquires more freckles while hiking the nearby desert trails. Her recent work appears or is forthcoming in Arcturus, Mortar Magazine, Leaping Clear and Glint.