Wendy Xu

some days



Some days as I am laying about the house


Cultivating my laziness


I imagine a very sudden and mysterious wind


Visible because it has just blown through a glitter factory


Tearing through my living room


I throw myself in a protective style over the books


And I feel good and heroic about this


I feel that in a genuine disaster situation


Other people can turn to me


Because I am filled with courage


And a taste for self-sacrifice


This believing is how I am not dead day after day


It is how my voicemails to you are not filled with weeping


I don’t think we make art and give it to the world


I don’t think the world can stomach another bite


One of us must wear a golden hat with fringe


It flaps softly around your face in little circles


Some days I don’t understand half the things I say

neon pear



If today the goodbyes are incorporated against me


Then I feel a certain kind of flattered


That I am so dangerous in my knowing


I steal two magnificent neon pears from the cafeteria


Because good news is on deck today


From the middle of America that maybe I have been selected


For what I can’t be sure


But I am thinking now of my tribe and their necessary dispersing


Their large flat feet touching down upon the earth


Where they will judge things based on an ability to move


So tonight when I am dumped from the light


Into a gas station’s static buzz


That is OK


I will with some coaxing hear a song about it


Which can’t reach anyone outside of this blue room


Which if the birds believe in noise and pizza


I believe in pledging allegiance to the united states of your face


I turn off one ear


And then slowly the other as if to say Sorry


I am unavailable for the duration of this dream

poem with comparison



Often I confuse portentous with pretentious


Which is just how it goes with words


They are like slippery children shoving one another


Into an above-ground neighborhood pool


The blue of the water is the blue of the world


It is July and I am sitting motionless on my porch sweating


I regret my more eco-conscious decisions now


My neighbors bask all day in the hum of their air-conditioner


Kiss each other like cats


Meanwhile I am obsessed with putting my hand on things


To guess their weight by pressing and not lifting


That hot bronze statue in the center of town


Citronella candles abandoned outside the public library


I close my eyes now and see a bolt of pale green fabric


It would make an amazing set of curtains


So here I am skipping down the dark driveway to the car


I don’t need you for this part


WENDY XU is the author of You Are Not Dead (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2013) and two chapbooks: The Hero Poems (H_NGM_N) and I Was Not Even Born (Coconut Books), a collaboration with Nick Sturm. Recent poems have appeared (or will appear) in The Best American Poetry, Gulf Coast, Black Warrior Review, and elsewhere. She co-edits and publishes iO: A Journal of New American Poetry / iO Books, and lives in Western Massachusetts.