Molly Zhu— A Portfolio of Poetry

Ilsse Peredo

I Dream Of All My Insecurities

I dream of all my insecurities. I dream of spring beginning and beginning
and beginning again and I dream of your body lying next to mine,
it feels so infinite my skin cries out. I dream of the clouds, 
today: desiccated coconut and billowing bruise, 
tomorrow: cellulite and reams of wool. I dream of all my nightmares –
the one where I cannot protect my brother, my sister –
the one where the self-driving car whisks me away and I’m inside 
and I can’t scream, and in the night there is a static energy 
and I dream of every color in the universe and then the colors I’ve never seen before.
I dream of me. I dream of me, then I dream of me and I dream of you. 
I dream in black and white and I dream of flying, of floating,
of absolute freedom and I dream in Chinese
when I dream of tenderness, then I dream I am a bird, no –  a ghost,
and I am haunting a quiet memory. I dream I am awake,
but I cannot move. I dream I kissed you and the shock was so great
I realized I was dreaming. I dream of escaping a trap 
that I’ve built by myself, for myself. I dream it’s the end of the world and 
I’m desperately searching for my grandmother. I dream every single night 
though I can’t quite remember every detail. I dream of running 
through the forest, and someone I am terrified of is chasing me down.
I dream the floor in the shower is carpet. I try to ignore it, try to justify it,
but I am completely disgusted by it. I dream of saying everything
I could never admit to in real life. I dream I am hanging from your lips,
it takes me somewhere far away and I dream and I dream and I dream 
until it wakes me up. 

The Girl With No Hands

The girl with no hands actually does have hands, it’s just – they are invisible and she only makes use of them to serve herself. No really, she can sew and play the piano – just not for you. Sometimes her lovers ask to have their egos stroked but the girl with no hands will not, and cannot indulge in such behavior.  Other times interested suitors will approach her at a bar downtown and ask for her number but the girl has no hands and so she waves them away with a toss of her nubby arm.  Does she ever wish she could feel? Of course, but sometimes it’s just easier to be felt. Once, in a meeting, a male partner tried to ask her to take notes and she just glared at him until he understood. The girl with no hands is unable to flip the bird so last week when she was cat called on the street she instead told the man to “fuck OFF” and this left the entire block silent and stunned. (She was smirking, though). Overnight, a whole class of paraphernalia becomes irrelevant: gloves, nail polish, secret handshakes, sweaty handjobs...She was the only girl in her fourth-grade class who could wear short shorts to school because technically her wrists grazed the end of her ass. Her favorite sport is American soccer and her favorite film is Cool Hand Luke. I saw her play classical piano out in Washington Square Park but the last time this happened, the New Yorkers couldn’t understand how she was making sound since her hands can’t be perceived. So, she doesn’t do that anymore. Though sometimes she will sigh when she remembers the solitary joys of combing a loved one’s hair while they watch in quiet shock. An invisible rake runs through their locks and all the while, a handless musician gently plays the world’s most tender harp using just her wrists.



born in mexico, ilsse peredo is a multidisciplinary visual artist based in miami. she blends the mediums of photography, ceramics and installations to explore the depths and intricacies of the human experience. her artistic journey is a captivating exploration of emotion, identity and connection in an increasingly fragmented world. her works act as catalysts for conversations about the human experience, inviting viewers to reflect on their own stories and connect with the stories of others.


Molly Zhu is a Chinese American poet and attorney. She likes to write about chasms, dreams, tears, rage, translation and the women in her life. She was twice nominated for Pushcart prizes and has been published in both print and online journals including Hobart Pulp, the Ghost City Press, and Bodega Magazine, among others. She currently serves as assistant poetry editor for Passengers Journal, and she is the winner of the 2021 Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize awarded by the Cordella Press. Her debut chapbook, Asian American Translations, is now available for purchase. She is currently working on a full length poetry manuscript dedicated to womxn, their dreams, conceptions of feminism and freedom. You can learn more at