10 ALTERNATE ENDINGS
1: The flattened road kill squirrel puffs back to life
2: My father never leaves and I sprout more ventricles in my heart
3: I love so richly, I spare millions of pennies in my trust
4: Rosehips bloom in January, pink jellyfish in shattering snow
5: My heart becomes a jar of wildflower honey, does not amber
6: Everyone is so well fed, they cry greasy tears
7: I sit on a balcony in a large city no one has ever heard of, watching the one I love come back to me like rewinding a tape I’ve played many times before
8: The dead ends of my hair spilt to form their own continents
9: My mother reaches the end of her patience and heaves my father’s cigarette stained armchair out the window and some college students catch it from below, grateful
10: I lift the end of the day up like a fat centipede with its legs kicking and say: look, look how much you have
THREE MEN LOVED ME AND LEFT ME SUDDENLY, AND YOU ARE THE FOURTH
I brushed my hair until blood rushed out of me.
My hair shone like grapefruit doused in sugar:
simply too much. Everyone, everywhere, rejoiced:
thank god, it wasn’t me. And: strange, he adored you,
I don’t know what to say. I do. Say: what to hold
on to, say: again, this migratory path, the whales
are coming home, say: this heart season and
its clenched circulation, time to break out the parka,
it’s winter and I’ve been here, loving the ice all
this time. Dream: of a crane dismantling a nuclear
plant, pipes like felled trees. What sound does
my longing make? (What I woke to in the morning.)
Of tortoises chomping on grass, of their ancient,
wrinkled mouths indulging in such simple pleasures.
Of lassoing all four of you, of tightening the rope
until you can feel each other’s blossoming beards
bristling across your mouths. Of surveying that scene.
Of declaring: yes, truly, how handsome you all are.
Reply, all: (what sound does my longing make?)
What I woke to in the morning: the wind knocking
against no trees. Silence as cold as a marble counter
(grapefruit doused in sugar), too fancy to touch.
My self (simply) lifted out of another life. A rabbit
(chomping on grass), whisked away by an owl.
Silent flight, a mole punctured right in the snow
(it’s winter) after all. And (strange, he adored you)
so he remains, the rain-drenched couch on every
porch I’ve ever known. When is (too much) not
enough? It was (it wasn’t me). Braced against
a wall, (I brushed) the air of a false return. Familiar
stranger, won’t you knock the shadow (out of me)?
JANE WONG’s poems can be found in Best American Poetry 2015, American Poetry Review, AGNI, Poetry, 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, Willapa Bay, and Bread Loaf. She is the author of Overpour (Action Books, 2016) and is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Western Washington University.