Roy Wang

Magicicada: A Triptych


there was no need for lessons
                          morsels ingested by ear

            digested with love

                           are apples that fuel buzzing 

             around the mid-May maple

                                         or mom in a house dress

             printed with rose and lime butterflies

                            standing           still like the streetlight that yawns

                                                                         sodium sun to put us to bed

I can’t remember the words I knew then

                                         cannot make this real

                           anymore than tell you if it was really butterflies

                                          on her dress or cicadas breaking the air

              did I cry to my brother joyously, 我也是蚱蝉!

                                           almost certainly not but I want to have so 

I might have had more to lose

                                          than pollen off dirty knees look at these wings

                           I know cicadas are not the same as butterflies

                                                                    but I too will turn like 天蚕

when I go to Kindergarten next year


read only yinglish


17 years of maple bred only silence

                                      but a cycle on this American soil, roots of silver birch

            gunpowder stolen in the blood 

                          words locked in bones              give birth to language

                                                                                                feed on necrotic xylem

unfold these wings and ride this railroad

                            this metaphor is mixed so mixed up

              mixed up Mother Goose is so                           mixed                  remixed

                                          the terms to explain how to hate us less

                           are also not mine          but                      I think I think                 on them

as you pretend to think on The Lord

                            and they fill       they will fill        still they fill    elastic collisions alias a standstill
it’s not an Asian fetish it’s just racism     China = bad as an axiom leads only to tautologies
              fill they fly half thoughts         flutter in your cheek attack with gross butterfly kisses
    this is not murmur anymore murmuration              lock jawed no longer but to choose
             pick words out of this swarm it’s not buzzing it’s sirening not your words they turn to
interrogate why you are so late you did nothing great there was no bargain but for comfort
     no heat you mammal you wouldn’t rather die fucking than be left a nymph in the ground up
turn the sound up the nuanceand the timbredon’t matter thinkonit in stillness butthis brood this
chewing flyinyourmouthwhenyouwon’t shut youryellowfacexiaolongbaohole flingeachscrap
your therapist wouldbesopround right now in the madness inthemenance to be ashell
nottheshell yet mademad madden madmadmadmadmadmadmad adam

…and drop 


Roy is a queer, polyamorous, Chinese-Canadian poet living in Brooklyn where he works as a data consultant. He has had work appear in Prairie Fire, and The Windsor Review. He also has reviewed poetry for ARC and The Globe & Mail.