Poems

JENNIFER HUANG
Manifest

And when I reached the field,
it stopped me with a prophecy,
the bull with the human face.
I listened and thought

it was fate–I was to have
a life filled with cursed
love. I wandered on;
turned left and met a boy

who fucked me in the woods,
then another left, another boy
who showed me the Pac-Man
arcade in his parents’ basement,

his arms muscular, his hands
maneuvering the mouth
around the maze, and I,
the ghost following.

A different path, a girl pleased with
her power over me, many moons,
while my shadow U-turned
for the boy who loved my silence,

silenced my love–silence,
I loved. Boy, who made me
sneak out the side. And girl,
who dealt drugs on our date.

I could see but couldn’t stop. Living
as if I had no choice. I was
throwing myself until the path
pulled me back–to the bull.

Laughter. Then mine, bursting
from my lips. A cry as I caressed
a sun-wet afternoon. For only
I was left and then I left.

from Return Flight by Jennifer Huang (Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 2022). Copyright © 2022 by Jennifer Huang. Reprinted with permission from Milkweed Editions. milkweed.org

Jennifer Huang is a creative dabbler, who wears many hats (read: beanies), some of which include being a Jennifer Huang is the author of Return Flight, which was awarded the 2021 Ballard Spahr Prize for Poetry from Milkweed Editions. Their poems have appeared in POETRYThe Rumpus, and Narrative Magazine, among other places. In 2020, they earned their M.F.A. in Poetry at the University of Michigan Helen Zell Writers’ Program. Born in Maryland to Taiwanese immigrants, Jennifer has since called many places home.