“sky king toast” by Hal. Y. Zhang

my egg opens over the breakfast
pan, perfect rimed halves
like the very first. now I
am Creator of the new world, my
arteries churning rivers
breath roving winds
teeth precious gems
thoughts racing lightning
head hair black thick grass
bottom hair coarse salty seaweeds
foot bones broad patience of tortoises
diamond black nails feathers of ravens
sternum pass between mountain breasts
milk most blessed kindness.
but the white earth hisses and spits upon my fire in
rebellion, already forgetting where it came from so I
swallow the sun yolk in fury, in
protection and it
burns all
the way
down, splashing in
my volcano stomach,
sour and sweet.


Hal Y. Zhang brought story seeds from China to the United States years ago, and they’re slowing starting to sprout. She writes them down at halyzhang.com.

About this poem: Hal Y. Zhang says, “This is a modern reimagining of the primordial emergence of the world from a cosmic egg that is common to many mythologies. In the Chinese version (more familiar to me because I’m Chinese), a hairy giant named Pangu hatched from the egg and separated the earth and sky. Upon his death, his body became different features of the world.”

Truancy 5, December 2018