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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.

2 poems

by Stephanie Chang

Editor's note: We recommend reading this feature on desktop due to its unique formatting.

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.

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