persephone on her bad hair days



even though she was a goddess, she still had bad hair days / days when her locks / damp with the

grey looseness of february / frizzed in the air like wild sprouts / follicles swimming to a promised sky


& on those days she’d unclasp a jar of bees / create new language from unclenched doorknobs / she’d

soak rags in milk & lather lotion on her scalp / the ordinary brightness of sunday morning squeezing

/ through the curtains & collecting in an offering basin / at your temple / though you furrow your

brows & leave ginseng cream in the places where your eyebrows feel patchy —


she drifted in & out of tenses / & on bad hair days everything unravelled / opened / as if whatever act

she’d put on was undone / loosened / by the hairfall


& on those days / she left the flat / travelled up to hampstead / shook herself loose on the bus like

shaking the dirt off an onion / found a new religion in the calm caverns of the intercom speaker /

next stop is / & didn’t that mean something / breathing heavy on the bus windows / tracing a map of

your veins in the condensation

fentanyl daydreams of paramount angels in san fernando valley



fentanyl  floats,  fizzes  soft  &  pink,  its  camera  panning  low

around her  thighs  in  the  bathtub as she  ignores the agents’

calls,  the  failed projects,  the  failed  scripts gathering on the

table like  knocked-out  teeth  or  pale  white horses. fentanyl

drags her  to casting calls,  so  when  the director  asks  her to

dinner fentanyl  spins her like  sugar  strands  in the bathroom,

pins her hair in a bun,  leaves her features  neutral  as dripping

watercolors. fentanyl would rather be an aging silent  film star

or  a  crime   boss  wife  who  dances   to  chuck  berry  than  a

used-up body  thudding  against  the  director’s  stomach,  but

fentanyl knows  dreams must begin somewhere.  because she

cradles her wingless body & melts her days while fentanyl still

daydreams    of     paramount      angels,     paramount    angels

descending   on    the   valley   with   thousand-eyed  agents  &

million-dollar  contracts  &  fury.  fame.  one  morning  fentanyl

finds  her   curled   in  fetal  position  on  the  living  room  floor.

breathless. fentanyl  has nothing  to say, simply  steps over her

cold  body  & walks  out  into  the blinding  white  of  the valley,

heading                  towards                   another                  audition.

Lydia Wei lives in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Her work has been recognized by the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award, the National YoungArts Foundation, and the National Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and is published or forthcoming in The Adroit Journal, The Margins: Asian American Writers’ Workshop, harana poetry, and more. She tweets at @888bamboozle.