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Before the protest on Wednesday: A prose poem

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MARCH 18, 2023

an we live in a cottage?


Can we have a Smeg fridge? I can try find us one — I still think they’re a waste of money but you grew up listening to your 妈妈 always wishing for one. I’ll also get us a blender, my 爸爸 used to make me blueberry smoothies when I was sick.


Can we also have a little dog with short legs and a nose close to the ground? I can arrange the kitchen so you can always reach the microwave and the cups. We can have a little garden with fresh basil, rosemary and sage leaves like expensive suede. I’ll use the dried seeds to make bagels! And you’ll walk through the front door. And I’ll welcome you with: 


“You’re home! Can I kiss you?” 


And you’ll get flour on your nose too! And I’ll ask if you’ve picked up chocolate Calci-yums, and you’ll pull three out from your pocket. Later on, if you still have midnight cravings, I’ll make your favorite: Shin Ramyun with grated cheese on top. If you wanted to be a writer, a poet or a kawakawa tree swaying in the backyard, I can look after you! Make sure you are fed, watered: 





If you wanted to write city pop songs or leave your 9-5 office job to build rocket ships, I’ll pack you a lunchbox with animal-shaped rice balls to take to the studio. I think about picking fresh lemons from our tree to squeeze on freshly caught pan-fried tarakihi fish: to feed to all our friends sitting in our living room with empty tummies and cheap wine. Is that too much? 


Sometimes it feels just about as attainable as becoming an astronaut. 


There are times when we sway in the dining room, and my mind starts to imagine what it would be like to dance in front of everyone. It’s a dumb archaic misogynistic tradition 


— but our first dance would be “Dreams,” The Cranberries one! 


When I try to imagine the rest of the night, it feels too painful to carry all the way. I don’t think my parents would be there. Are they still disgusted? 




It makes me sad trying to imagine raising a tiny sprout — I can’t just ring my 妈 and ask her for childhood favourite recipes, like 蕃茄炒蛋 over hot white rice. I imagine us cuddling in wrinkled prunes — a time when both our titties have sagged 


— You reckon our timelines will stretch that far? 


I hope so. But I think it will take much more than a game of bingo or Bananagrams with our least favorite politicians. 


But can we have tonight? Before we go to the protest on Wednesday, wear the ribbons — I just want to climb into bed with you. 


Can we dream for a bit?

Contact Sherry Zhang at 


MARCH 18, 2023