by Holly Zhou

I am always waiting for fruit. I know the season
will winter when branches bud

hollow husks. When robins flee, their beaks
guilted red, the pulped pomegranate seeds

jingling the wind. When I return
home, I am again my father’s daughter.

Years ago, he watched my hair slump off in clumps.
I was afraid to sleep, of what would happen without

my eyes watching. I was afraid of my pillow, of what
its touch could do. Uproot me of my darkness.

Every morning, I would sweep the bathroom linoleum
with my palms, fold my scalp under layers of silk.

I know my friends by their fruit. In December,
my best friend visits bearing handfuls

of the smallest clementines & a dried persimmon.
To dry the fruit, they tell me, you must skin it, hang it

from a string, care for it daily for six weeks.
Over time, the flesh loses tension. Sweetens.

My father wants me to be a daughter
with the head of someone else’s

daughter. I pluck out my remaining feathers & he hands me
a snakeskin. I stare at the salon owner

staring at me through the mirror, my scalp
smothered by machine memory.

As a persimmon shrivels, it requires
touch. A gentle press is no longer enough

when darkness drizzles it with spots. It only begins
wrinkling under tender massage. After months of this,

the body sinks
& the sugar blooms.

Holly Zhou is a writer and zine-maker from the California desert who currently resides in Brooklyn. Their zine work has been showcased at the Bluestockings Comic Festival and at the San Francisco Zine Fest. They can be found in the frozen bun section of the Chinatown supermarket or on Instagram at [email protected]


Photography by: Hasan Almasi