Rumpus Original Poetry: Two Poems by Amy Gong Liu





Self Portrait as a Summer

In June I became my mother / who became a ching-chong joke / whose eyes became plasma / whose daughter became regenerative / and in July I became a ching-chong joke / and my sister became the declaration / whose sisters became the machete / whose shoes were stolen under the last of light / and in August I became the burnt / and in August I lived in the nation / and the nation burnt its walls / leaving its pieces to wash by morning / so tomorrow I’ll become the morning / my blood will become theirs / and they will smell still / like the people they were before /


A Call with Family

on the phone,
my mother crushes

爱, a single bit of
jasmine between

her lips. my teeth
taste like glue. my

teeth taste like sun.
how do you say

uterus in tradition?
i have to ask the

black screen for
directions, but it

never returns
with permissions;

it never gives
me a kiss, or

returns on sunday
with the answers.


Photograph of Amy Gong Liu courtesy of Amy Gong Liu.

Amy Gong Liu is a Chinese American writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and has been published in Hobart, Empty Mirror, Foglifter, Ruminate Magazine, RHINO Poetry, and others. She thinks too much (or perhaps too little). More from this author →