Queen of Hearts

By “April” Yueyi Zhu

One day when my mother was in kindergarten, she was being loud around my grandmother who was cooking. Her behavior resulted in my grandmother chopping off her little finger.

My mother screams and prosecutes like Queen of Hearts, just like hers did.

My mother claims that my father loves her for he hands in all his salary.

She never received a wedding ring.

I feel like I am becoming the mother of my mother. I brought her a long silk dress the last time I saw her. She was wearing a green utility jacket all winter from some rip-off brand, always proud of how she got everything on sale. I sent her to her first massage. She fell asleep on the subway, and even in her sleep her eyebrows were locked together – the reign has exhausted her. I cried during dinner because I couldn’t tell her what was going on. Being told takes away all her power and she wouldn’t allow it.

The other night I dreamt about my grandmother, I was on the back of her bike. We were dancing ballet while riding and the wind flew through under our arms. We were swift as seagulls. It felt like when my mother rode me to elementary school everyday for years. She would run with the bike to accelerate, then swing one leg across. She was so elegant. We always rode through an enormous park with animal sculptures and I would chew my breakfast while joyfully looking around. I remember how much I loved to be on her bike.

Until the day she got displeased, and she made me chase after the bike crying as if she were to deport me forever from her heart.

My mind has been screaming and prosecuting for years after I moved away, I don’t know how to stop it. The truth is when you inherit too much power, it really gets into your head.


“April” Yueyi Zhu is a Chinese student pursuing a new media BFA at Penn State. She also has experience in curatorial practice, music and photography. She is trying out everything art students can do in America: going to gallery openings for food, making jokes related to contemporary art and learning about the DIY scene. She makes simple games and shoots videos sometimes, and spends her free time depicting a world of power dynamics.

Her works can be found on www.aprilzhuart.com