Wendy Xu


for D. F.

Had meant to speak you plainly
a letter, say How good a mouth opens now
and then to be heard when I
pay my debts noun
by little noun. In winter some snow
or missive, inside with nobody my second
good family is the moon, today its new
circumference, pocked rolling away
my years. Penance the bright garden
I believe in, edging a white
high bank, moored less if someone turns
back a face, will coach, will stay othering
a window to nobody knows.
When the winds came I laid
down dead the narrow house, saw like you
stars yap an old song. Say it is
this way with people
and tiny things. Some spinning up, not
milky dark, you say some worlds
for catching.


Keeping to glass and good, a beach,
the possible air, when towards someone we
are believing. When others cut
a dark street. Like song, stripped us like weather
and teaming we begin
away. God keep me and others, we vegetables
in the hot pan, we touching, are tough, are bone-
hollowed not yet. We mouth
a gleaming lemon, at night bothered
with love, we gauzed the distance not
whining much. God keep and touch
me on my face. Messed up, strewn, widely
a new place ringing.


As much as being anywhere is
potted or with browner tangle
of roots, I suddenly multiplied into
more seeming. Of gestures smeared
off a table when darkening, wind
blows through the house
at hours, some manic, purpling
little knee-cap, I having ten more
good habits beneath this one.
What I love unfolding
on the grey couch, not because once
a different patterned I unfluttering
his soft lids, was coarser like sand out
any stupid bottle.

Wendy Xu is the author of You Are Not Dead (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2013), and with Nick Sturm co-author of I Was Not Even Born (Coconut Books). Recent poems have appeared in The Best American Poetry, The Volta, Gulf Coast, and elsewhere. She co-edits and publishes iO: A Journal of New American Poetry / iO Books.