Yellow Fever is a Disease and Not a Point of Pride by Jasmine Cui

Mother was wúyǔ, they say
I inherited her: nose, ears, lips. 

Taut skin, jaundice colored. Men
mistake affliction for ingots; body

for conquest: gold, 
glory, God. They say

they are sick
with yellow fever.

Tongue is divination stick,
licking salt runes into  

my chest. Confused
mouth calls 悲 love, 

calls 草 sex. Oceanic, 
my chest is full of gunpowder. 

I am swollen sea cleaving
self into ions. 

Lysis, the body spliced
into multiples to feed

five thousand. All Asian girls
are made of the same: jade,

parasols, rice, stoicism. I want
my own Lucy Liu to split

open like flypaper. Call
my silence willingness

not protest. Call me
没有名称 not beautiful.

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Contributor Notes

Persist. Even when the world says otherwise. Even if you’re hearing “No” more than youhear “Yes.” Persist.

Jasmine is 18 years old and is majoring in Political Science, Economics, and Violin Performance at SUNY Geneseo. She aspires to be like her parents who are first-generation Americans that fought an extraordinary battle for their place in this country. Jasmine found the courage to pursue writing when she was 17. She is not a mentee, not a Foyle Young Poet, not a Presidential Scholar (and this is not to say you can't be those things), but she is still every bit a writer. And you are too.