by Jeddie Sophronius
I have found my kind hiding within
the walls of their shophouses. They speak in
a forbidden language among their own,
one which I’ve never learned. They’ve changed their names
into something easier to pronounce:
a forest is shaped into a monk, a
memory is molded into faith, and
the flood dries up and becomes sky. Some have
abandoned history but still believe
the golden cat brings fortune, number four
means a bad omen, flipping a steamed fish
will destroy your wealth. The elders believe
in less likely things; like a race riot,
those carrying signs demanding our heads.
* The title loosely translates as “Hang the Chinese” from Indonesian.
Jeddie Sophronius is the author of Love & Sambal (The Word Works, 2024) and Blood-Letting, a runner-up of Quarterly West‘s 2022 Chapbook Contest. A Chinese Indonesian writer from Jakarta, he received his MFA from the University of Virginia, where he served as the editor of Meridian. Their poems have appeared in The Cincinnati Review, The Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. Read more of their work at nakedcentaur.com.