Jane Wong

WHEN YOU DIED

 

  • Did you wonder what was coming home?
  • No loyal dog, no father, no mother in clean
  •  
  • pressed linen, no river to wash away 
  • the dirt from your eyes? Know this: 
  •  
  • your eyes are large enough to build 
  • a ditch in. If the sky is red, stay inside. 
  •  
  • Do not look anyone in the eye or 
  • you will turn into a pot. No one wants 
  •  
  • to be a pot to cook nothing with. 
  •  
  •   
  •  
  • Did you see roses blocking the street? 
  • No? The air wasn’t full of thorns? 
  •  
  • The rot: not red and slug sick? 
  • Take care of the cabbage, even in the rain. 
  •  
  • Take heed of your little brother, 
  • wean him with a stick of sugar cane. 
  •  
  • No sugar cane? Not even in your 
  • neighbor’s cupboard? Remember what belongs 
  •  
  • to someone else does not belong 
  • to you. Give your brother your thumb 
  •  
  • instead; keep your nails long. 
  •  
  •  
  • Did you have a name and did the army 
  • take it away? Did you try to hold 
  •  
  • onto your name? An armful of emptiness 
  • is better than nothing. You do not 
  •  
  • believe me? Tell me then: what is the use 
  • of making sense during a time 
  •  
  • like this, during a red sky like that, 
  • dangling about like a tender 
  •  
  • slice of meat you want to devour?

JANE WONG has poems in such anthologies and journals as Best American Poetry 2015, Best New Poets 2012, Pleiades, and Third Coast. A Kundiman fellow, she is the recipient of scholarships and fellowships from the U.S. Fulbright Program, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Squaw Valley Writing Conference, and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. She is the author of Overpour (Action Books).


Issue Two
13.00
Quantity:
Add To Cart