Current Issue poetry


by Jeddie Sophronius


ci·na /ˈʧɪnə / offensive 1. He said he would protect me should the mob come: // “hundreds of incensed demonstrators / ran from the scene yelling / ‘kill cina’ and brandishing weapons.” 2. Those who try to pass as the people they’re not: // grandmother was pregnant when the police escorted her and her four children to change their legal name. 3. The sacrificed: // “the crowd “rampaged / through the city, pulling cina / off pedicabs and motor scooters, / hacking them with long knives, / ransacking their stalls in the central market, / killing or wounding all who resisted[1].” 4. When I miss my childhood friend, I try to remember him singing cina songs, the songs he pretended to know the lyrics to.

[1] The quotations come from Tsai, Yen-ling and Douglas Kammen. “Chapter 6: Anti-communist Violence and the Ethnic Chinese in Medan, North Sumatra.” The Contours of Mass Violence in Indonesia, 1965-1968, edited by Douglas Kammen and Katherine McGregor, NUS Press, 2012, pp. 131-155.

 Jeddie Sophronius is the author of Love & Sambal (The Word Works, 2024) and Blood·Letting, a runner-up of Quarterly West’s 2022 Chapbook Contest. A Chinese-Indonesian writer from Jakarta, he received his MFA from the University of Virginia, where he served as the editor of Meridian. Their poems have appeared in The Cincinnati Review, The Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. Read more of their work at