Home PageArchivesVolume no. 6Issue 2Poetry: Jane Wong


by Jane Wong

The trees here are poached
white. A peeled orange falls

from the kitchen counter,
a sweeter planet. Laughter fills

a honeycomb some distance
away. I give you a lie as cold

as a mirror in winter,
warm in fractals

of snow. No, I never did
say love. To alter and deny,

stand as still as any good
dead thing. Good possum,

good eagle splayed across
a windshield asking

for just enough forgiveness.
And who doles out

such charity? Yesterday, Jane
leaned against the stove

and burnt both her elbows.
To be responsible for

another life, I loathe it.
I did say loathe.

Upstairs, you sleep
with deadbolt eyes.

Downstairs, quick oats
bloat in the sink.

I throw a rake through
a pile of snow to feel

just enough violence.
In spring, the trees will rust.




Forgetfulness, Apology, Forgetfulness

by Jane Wong

I crawled into a blanket
And turned it into the one I love
Kissing each thread
I puked up wool and weaved
The coldest night
Cold enough to bury a man in the snow
And forget


Pure accident, this heart
Cracking like a rib
Against cement and ice
With a forest of krill
Moving underneath
If I shook, would a world fall out?
I said your name as if skipping a stone
Into a revolving door


I’m wearing myself out
Thread-bare in the arms, legs
Mount St. Helens stands before me
Like a collapsed nose
I could crawl into


I am being ferried out
Out of every city, out of every bedroom
Collecting strands of my hair
My stockings warming underneath the heater
I am being ferried out
The way ritual supplants the present moment
With a bleeding goat
Blinking in disbelief


Open this storm vault
This evidence of life pouring out
As shrimp pours out from a good haul
It simply won’t stop
What have you run away from lately?
Ringed in your arms, I am a plant
Shaking from too much water


A new island forms in the Pacific
The size of the Pit in Butte, Montana
This little jungle, this little garbage dump
My glimmer, my grudge
I too can be a volcano
Gathering rocks, animals, trash
My judgments gleaming in ash
In the rusty pieces of a passing barge


Salvaged, savaged, salved
Perhaps I have stayed too long
Spiders crawl out from a heater
Soldiers of the heart
Wrapping loose legs
Around my ribcage
Opening and closing
Like a plastic bag before a storm


Each morning
I let the sun do its work
The world melts into everything I’m afraid of
The man I buried in the snow
Raises his arms up to me
Forgetfulness, apology, forgetfulness
I lean down to kiss
The ice in the dip
Of a parking lot


Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetJane Wong’s poems can be found in “Best American Poetry 2015,” “Best New Poets 2012,” “The Arcadia Project,” and elsewhere. A Kundiman fellow, she is the recipient of fellowships and scholarships from the U.S. Fulbright Program, the Fine Arts Work Center, Squaw Valley, and others. She lives in Seattle, where she teaches at the Hugo House and the University of Washington.

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