Conquest, as Seen by the City | Ashley Deng

you call to me and demand
I let you enter,
past these walls and into my
words snarled out in a language
whose vocabulary is littered with remnants of

and I want to ask,
what can a city do for you?

your army enters in spite
of my silence,
and your soldiers flood my arteries
brandishing tools whose purpose is only
you set up in my streets, my houses, my families,
you snuff out my breath and
force your tongue down our

and I fail to plead,
what is a stolen city to you?

when the walls are dismantled,
I am unheard,
my tongue forgotten by those within,
our memories delegated to whispers
swept away by the wind and crushed by
the rush of blood in our ears, with spirits raised
and heartbeats racing

and I shout,
what does persistence look like to you?

Ashley Deng is a Canadian-born Chinese-Jamaican writer with a love of fantasy and all things Gothic. She studied biochemistry with a particular interest in making accessible the often-cryptic world of science and medicine. When not writing, she spends her spare time overthinking society and culture and genre fiction. Her work has appeared at Nightmare Magazine, Fireside Magazine, Augur Magazine, and others. You can find her at or on Twitter at @ashesandmochi.