Another day passes
by without certainty –
certainty running late, a train
dragging its luck. When is
enough, enough?
Forget love, my mother says,
go home, learn to cook for one.
Horrible to set a plate
in the center of an echoing room:
Jane, Jane – to
kill that noise, to arise in
love again. Repeat, repeat –
my whistling train stunned and stuck.
Now, rolled over to a stop –
oh what is there to say?
Paralyzed in fog, in the eye of a steamed fish.
Question nothing, my mother says.
Return to yourself, time and again.
Selfishness, make yourself comfortable.
Turn not in bed, moored by no fat moon
under no star wrestling for no light.
Victory, victory, the fish cheers with its pinpricked gape.

Wear loneliness like a chrysalis, a crown.
Yoke your ribs to language instead, i.e.
zyzzyva, the last word: my own.




Tired of  fighting  – undo your armor  –  stuck to your ribs like a good,

fat meal –  undo the  gristle  –  knuckled in the prior  –  in gluttonous,

bee-drunk  June  –  calling  back  what  was  never  –  there,  can you

believe it,  your mother says, a man – can cry over a dog’s dead body

–  but won’t look you in the eye  –  the facts multiply  like the arms of

an aloe plant  –  spears of fact:  you  have never  done what has been

done  to  you  –  fact:  each  leaving  radiates  with  alien light  –  each

apology: an overdressed salad you will eat – nethertheless – vow: do

not wash your face at night  –  let all your  hexes seep into your pores

–  vow:  uncurl yourself from  weaponry  –  for: you know what it feels

like  –  an arrow  in the arm  –  rustling in splinters  – allow:  light what

uses your  strength  against  you  –  fawn,  fear,  or  wreck  –  each  fist

somersaulting  in  what  knuckle  –  ruthless:  write a poem for love  –

before love can even exist

Jane Wong‘s poems can be found in Best American Poetry 2015, American Poetry Review, Third Coast, jubilat and others. A Kundiman fellow, she is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from the U.S. Fulbright Program, the Fine Arts Work Center, Hedgebrook, and Bread Loaf. She is the author of Overpour (Action Books, 2016) and is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Western Washington University.