Butcher in Waiting

Winniebell Zong

Love me, hole puncher, lantern bearer, 

churned butter, bloody nurse by the corner, 

like chilled hay does pumpkin spiced 

barber & the wool hat behind your door 


at Mount Boar, land of the pure & poor—Tell me, 

should I pull out or drink more for the long 

hair at the back of my throat? I am running
out of vodka & gray inside out. Shoot me 


a star shaped like a birthmark sealed in lard

on that wooden plank & I will hug it 

like my own. Take me back to when you said 

God I will never hurt you & home 


is the onion soup that burned my lips

& you watched me take smaller sips.

Winniebell Xinyu Zong is a poet and djembe player. She was born and raised in an industrial city in China. Zong holds a B.A. in Creative Writing from Franklin and Marshall College, where she received Nolt Music Award and Honaman Japanese Study Fund. Her work has appeared recently or is forthcoming in Rigorous, NYMBM, and Little Patuxent Review. She now mentors high school students on college access at College Advising Corps.