Jane Wong




I enter a room.

A cat vomits as if to say


welcome home. Scattered

bones on the floor,


tiles of fur and fever:

welcome. Outside, the parks


are rinsed clean. Grass sprays

across my window.


This clean violence

for the Green and Livid.




Nothing I say leaves

this room. Not a foot,


not a single verb.

This room is meant


to be a cage to swing

sweetly in. Arm in


arm, slow scythe of

each doorway expanding


with each breath I hold in

until I can’t.


Remember, what you can’t

see can hurt you.


I will stay here,

getting fat in the eyes.




Braced against a wall,

I will bite at you.


I will take what

I’ve come to claim –


do not cry and

cry to no priest.


My mother told me

when consuming a whale,


take one bite at a time

or it will consume you.


Take heed. Take tail,

tongue, et al.




I enter a room

full of garlands slung


in a death march.

Flowers crowd the sill


in whiskey water.

I drink until my eyes


flood the entire state

of Jersey.


The moss turns whiskey

under my mouth.


This year, there will be

a mudslide worth watching.


This year, we won’t

need proof.




Outside, geese shit

on themselves.


It is the season of giving

and I gave everything


over to you: forgiveness,

apology, forgiveness.


Can you imagine roses

rotting in the trash?


It’s simply too much.

Delicate February


and its dunce hat.




To pull a rabbit

out of what?


The future is not stupid.

To make a critical mass,


leave a spoon of honey

out for the ants.


This will be my army,

my kin. The yard


is lined with dumpsters

I know too well.


Sunshine spills

on the oil slick


of last night’s dinner.

My face shines


in the slick, subtly





In the case of a tornado,

retreat into the deepest


interior. Steal anything

you can get your hands on,


including yourself.

Nightly, my army


circles the earth’s bruise.

Split plum of the heart,


stuck to the floor.

I’m unable to rightfully


stomp. Crows pass by

my pupils, recognizing


every face I shouldn’t.

Decisions in confrontation.


Best to forgive or fork over

your better half.




The guts of a cow spill

onto the killing floor.


I scoop out the guts

of a cloud and smear it


across my eyes.

Intestinal, the false ray


of a false sun unravels.

I slither to the light,


suffocating so.

Below the horizon,


crows fly across graves

off the interstate.


The pouring concrete

freezes, paralyzed


in ice, smog.




Sometimes, crickets go off

at the same time.


Sometimes, my legs itch involuntarily.

Sometimes, I want to be able


to hold my own hand.

This need is inhabitable:


fat tapeworm of the belly,

crooning in corridors.


Jane Wong

JANE WONG is the recipient of fellowships and scholarships from the U.S. Fulbright Program, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Fine Arts Work Center. Her poems can be found in places such as CutBank, Eleven Eleven, Mid-American Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Salt Hill, The Volta, The Arcadia Project, and Best New Poets 2012. Her most recent chapbook is Kudzu Does Not Stop. She teaches at the University of Washington.