Screenplay with Balconies & Iced Tea

Lily Zhou

On television, I sing the national anthem

                   & all the rabbits I was too afraid to love

burst into a flock of fireworks. I reach

                 stardom. I become the face on billboards

& highway murals. Here I am, holding

                 the gun. Here I am, hefting the falcon

by the talons & into the well. I want fame

                 like I want clean clothes & milk tea.

I want a matchstick I could use to light

                 small fires in forgotten street corners.

Something the neighbors would stare at

                 & pretend not to see. In a film, I play

my mother’s ghost & turn blue-lipped

                 at the sight of chocolate. I play a deer

shaving lavender from its antlers, nosing

                 for warmth in the dead of a forest. I play

for a house on Beverly Hills, a life

                 & I could spend soaking my feet in ice water

& scattering peaches in droves. In the film,

                 I do not look for the camera because I know

there isn’t one. I do not wish for the type

                 of fame that sings my name as victory

march. Instead, I play the heroine,

                 trace my way home by lamplight.


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