By Ally ChasePoetry | Spring 2021

Vincent Zhu, Crack (series)

My grandmother told me a story
about an orchid in her garden.
She said the orchid is white,
she said she does not water it.
She does not move it into the sun, or away from the sun,
never from beneath the sprawling clarity of the kitchen window. I said I don’t understand, she said she only touches the orchid to finger the weight of its soft, dense petals.

Everywhere she turns now, after fifteen years
in the lush green of her home, there is an orchid.
Some hang suspended from the gnarled branches in her yard. Some have put down roots in the dark Florida earth, and she tends to these in a wide brimmed hat,
bending gently to the soil beneath a solitary palm.

These are the orchids which have allowed for her devotion, yet she chose to tell me about the only one
that receives nothing. I try to make sense:
there are the orchids she must touch to keep alive,

and there is the one that refuses her hands.
Together these hands are all my grandmother has to offer, but somehow it is nothing for her to fold them together, to accept the presence of wonder with ease.

She expects the orchid to bloom because by growing,
it has created her faith. How can faith
keep her hands from wringing over what she cannot give this anomaly of nature? Instead she trusts that her eyes see what she knows. She looks at this orchid—a glance and then a glance away. She witnesses a miracle.

But a sense of peace, like the white flower, feels so precarious. Still the story doesn’t make sense,
and I haven’t seen an orchid since my last visit.
Now I can only watch through the phone as the miracle replaces the central act of her hand. There in the window

is the orchid’s final reflection, and there is my grandmother, ending a life she thought went on without her,
just by sitting down to rest.



By Desmond Hearne MorreyPoetry | Spring 2021

Crack (Series), Vincent Zhu

I am following an ant, 

watching its shiny black carapace 

scuttle, (patriotically), into battle. 


I’ve read that they smell each other 

(or, whatever an ant’s understanding of smell might be) and separate themselves from the enemy with olfactory banners. I myself having no scent of war, 

am invisible. 


My friend tells me: 

“Spiders are fine, they 

don’t know 

that they’re creeping around 

on a creature (a person, 

a whole subjective unit) 

But centipedes 

will fuck you up.” 


The color of the world (on bright days) 

differentiates things, and I find joy in their multiplicity. The same light reflects, refracts, many times, many ways, and I touch these borders of brilliance, 

grasp and rip them from each other, and 

set them up in a little row. 

One thing, two things, three things… 

A ladybug lands on a poem. I am 

fascinated and so 

I drop a cookie crumb to her. She 

finds it, tastes it, and 

the sugar is too sweet, 

too much, and she 

runs in circles over it. 

(I, on the other hand, 

have eaten the rest of the cookie)


They say (my professors) 

that we must start with nothing (the empty set), and then continue to add (and 

rephrase, and bound, and contain) itself, and this is how we reach 

infinity. We start with one 

leaf, and find another 

and soon we have collected 

everything (and more). 


If I flew away from here (on gossamer wings) and turned back, would I see 

so many colors? The bright reds of 

autumn leaves, the grays and 

yellow lights of urbanity? 


I say 

that I walk across poems and 

do not know if the land I love 

is a creature, and do not know 

when one ends 

and two begins.