Iowa Writes

WENDY XU
Two Poems


Opening Ceremony

Open with something other than bad intentions
& the painfully short life of sea creatures
near public beach hot-spots, dig faster
little translucent sand crab & the droves
of human bathers just keep coming.

--

Open with something revealing & patterned
floral when he apologizes, a freckle behind an earlobe
behind curls. A pyramid of light beneath the streetlamp
& your lips move.

--

Open with lightning cleaving an oak tree. Disregard
metaphor, a small pond gathers itself
in your lungs.

--

Open with a friend eating eggplant while
in the background, a riotous crowd overthrows
a small country. Say okay as Pittsburgh shakes
twenty cars off the interstate in a freak accident,
the coils of black smoke rising up
like absolution.

--

Open with men saddling a donkey on a narrow road
kicking dust. You place two coins in the husband's hand
& sit down beneath a gnarled tree.

Opening Ceremony

Open with something other than bad intentions
& the painfully short life of sea creatures
near public beach hot-spots, dig faster
little translucent sand crab & the droves
of human bathers just keep coming.

--

Open with something revealing & patterned
floral when he apologizes, a freckle behind an earlobe
behind curls. A pyramid of light beneath the streetlamp
& your lips move.

--

Open with lightning cleaving an oak tree. Disregard
metaphor, a small pond gathers itself
in your lungs.

--

Open with a friend eating eggplant while
in the background, a riotous crowd overthrows
a small country. Say okay as Pittsburgh shakes
twenty cars off the interstate in a freak accident,
the coils of black smoke rising up
like absolution.

--

Open with men saddling a donkey on a narrow road
kicking dust. You place two coins in the husband's hand
& sit down beneath a gnarled tree.
-
--

Open with the disillusionment of your life which
lived out, was not like the movie. Tell the husband to buy
a motorcycle & ride it into a broken clock-tower
Look up at a heaven, which refuses nothing.

***

Unapologetic Poem

In the harbor the men trudge knee-deep
        through the river's fishy mouth, filthy, pulling the plastic green nets
      into heaps on the bank.      Watch him, my sweet cartographer
place a handful of almonds into a bag & give the bag to me—
                       death stinks of red carp flailing
      on a boardwalk. My cartographer, his back curved
        like the glistening blade of a hook says mourn me—
the water's bluish eye blinking itself ashore.

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About Iowa Writes

Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.

In November of 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Iowa City has joined Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia as UNESCO Cities of Literature.

Find out more about submitting by contacting iowa-writes@uiowa.edu


WENDY XU

Wendy Xu was born in China; she was raised in Iowa before attending the University of Iowa for creative writing. She has studied at the Iowa Writers' Workshop and the New York State Summer Writers' Institute where she was a 2010 Full Fellowship Winner in Poetry. Her poems have appeared in or are forthcoming from journals such as Literary Laundry, Milk Money Magazine, Coal Hill Review, Pismire, and Catch Up, while her first chapbook manuscript "Exhibit" was a finalist for the 2010 Autumn House Press Chapbook Contest. She currently coordinates the Younger American Poets Reading Series in Des Moines, IA, where she lives and writes.

This page was first displayed
on April 15, 2011

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