Stephanie Chang is a rising freshman at University College London and currently based in Vancouver, Canada. Her poetry appears or is forthcoming in The Adroit Journal, Kenyon Review, Waxwing, and Hobart, among others. She was selected as runner-up for the 2020 Adroit Prize for Poetry by Jericho Brown. Stephanie edits for Sine Theta Magazine and reads for Muzzle Magazine.
by Stephanie Chang
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Princess Bubblegum Dreams of Marceline the Vampire Queen
You had me at hellfire—
For years, I dreamt your voice
meant the birth of a blood moon.
Come sunset, your stunning
death, I wept baby azaleas out of my bones.
I woke entirely out of worlds for you
to end. If only the kingdom, having surrendered
the colors red, pink, vermilion peach,
could spare us your switchblade smile.
I wandered into your wounds
by sheer accident. All you could say
was nothing lulls a girl to sleep like loneliness.
It started to rain. You started to cry.
I made a weapon of winter, candied
my mouth and let it collapse over yours.
Look. This was a hunger bound
to happen. April and the apocalypse
was by no means a natural disaster.
You were still trying to hunt down
the origin of your hurt. At the coronation,
you plucked sunflowers from the palace garden,
winced when they scarred you open. You asked for
my name or my life or my hand.
To capture the castle, you unbirthed an apple
to its seed. You only had to blush
and even the ghost orchids bloomed.
Even the heroes and kings fell to their knees
as you licked the light all around
their eyes. I coughed up syrup,
shades of red, realized nothing could be saved.
The true villain of this story is morning
so I hide you in the glare of a knife.
How it debones the dark
and becomes it.
Medea Writes to High School Girl
let me guess / darling / the chorus couldn’t cull
your carnage / its blunt bite / yes i suppose
i should say congratulations / here’s to the cherry
you turned chariot / our hometown hero
on a wrecking ball / straddles every & all patterns of flight
that lead to springtime / when the birds
place their bets on war stories / they say you wore a sundress
to siege / fucked with fishnets on
& licked the fish on fire / it’s true / what they say about smoke
torched eyes / it can’t be helped / crimes
like ours / are paid for in fool’s gold: / cataracts of cold
cased bullets / but more importantly
you’re home / at least / at last in the landscape / of your heart
exactly how you left it / at its most loved
still pink-muscled & kind / & brave / & could it beat / even brighter
on its own / go on / come get it / floating
like it’s meant to be found / in the punch bowl at the last party
you loved yourself / not / girl i’m so proud
so goddamn proud of you / don’t pretend / we didn’t all see it:
neon / a permanent stain / on the dark
your eyes / splitting the light / to pieces / the city
you ransacked of red / skin flayed open
by shooting stars / as the chorus cried boys / are good
for nothing but blood / berry chapstick
to candy over / a canker sore / i once had a husband who said
want / is more weapon than word & i wanted
him gone / i wanted myself / back / so look / what i’m trying to say
is welcome / welcome back.