Jenny Liu

A Feminine Winter in New York City

            car lights
for something to
            grab on to. Past the
                        behind glass prisons.
                                                Past the store that
sold memories. I
                                    walk faster.
Their stares
                                     hang just
            off the edge
                                    of comfortable.
the air is thick
                        New York.
                        look away.
                        the air is thick
“hey you.”
                                    I think about
            how snow never
                                                seems to
                        stay white
for too long.
                        I watch as
they almost
                                    over the road salt:
            rough like
                                    my dry knuckles.
                                                keep my head down.

This is how we live here

It is in your crescent-shaped eyes
that I find contradiction in: those double eyelidded treasures,
rare like painite, coveted like gems. I feel the guilt of googling
double eyelid tape before my first date. My own canvas is flat like
the language in my throat. Unable like my fingers
folding spring rolls with my mother. Crescent-shaped eyes
reminds me that in the 3rd grade, my science teacher asked:
Why do we learn? & I answered: told her science reveals where life
comes from. Heads turn & tell me that God created this world and
I, a 3rd grader, was destined to burn in Hell. Reminds me
that everytime I take the train, the rattling tracks whisper
about the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act. Reminds me that in
history class, I must suppress my pronunciation
of Beijing // of Shanghai // of Guangzhou. Must not reveal foreign.
Must always do it the American way. Must always do it
the right way.

Wrong Answers

Two heartbeats
& the first one is
full of red intent
& the second one is
full of
I need to get out of here.

Two heartbeats
& the first one
sharp / swift / stop
(gun) recoils from the no
& the second one
beats all too quietly:
... --- .-. .-. -.--
-- --- --

Two heartbeats
& the first one is
praying to 911
& the second one is
            for Emily
                        for Sophia
                                    for Mia
            for her
to come back home.

& her arrhythmia
translates into I should’ve
listened to my mother

& her arrhythmia
translates into men will get
what they want from you

& her arrhythmia
translates into / I thought /
/ I / thought / you / you /
you / were
/ were/
my / my
/ my /
/ friend /


—one cold heart

beat /
            beat /
                        beat /


Author Portrait

Jenny Liu is a poet and high school student from New York. Recently, she was awarded a National Gold Medal in poetry from the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Outside of writing, Jenny enjoys listening to music, graphic designing, and working in a research lab.