What it Means to Sing Forward

i cycle through phrases of songs
calling us alien, dirty, virus-infecting
like the lady who struck me
and screamed to an audience of fairies for five stops
like shattering car windows—
a Chinese doctor who couldn’t arrive at work
like laying-off a factory manager after a decade
like tethering yourself to a five-meter radius
because streets with foreigner blood
entice parasitic knives and guns

I sing out the bass of each popular beat—
I learn to 插花, watch 舞獅, wear my 旗袍
I keepsake my history and culture
I vocalize Hallelujah under the full moon
and eat 月饼 in dormitory libraries,
toss 毽子 to uncurl purple phoenixes
exchange Mandarin and Cantonese and English between my teeth—
I blow up plastic bags and scrape glitter in my nails,
saving them for mornings when life
is less sun and full moon,
and at the bridge,
I’ll argue my way to court rooms
and air out the tainted scent
of their infectious slaughter

Author’s Bio

Vivian Li is a writer, editor, and musician who enjoys exploring obscure and intriguing concepts. Her creative work can be found in Uncanny Magazine, ellipsis… literature & art, and Plenitude Magazine, among others. A MFA candidate at UBC, she currently edits for Augur, and can be reached @eliktherain.