Why can’t I stop reading about this crazy lady? Cultural appropriation is a contested activity in the U.S., especially in the realms of artistry, but cultural theft committed with the purpose of gaining access to positions or institutional power is more insidious. This is what Dolezal did. Currently winning the Internet: #AskRachel I totally believe in the idea of being an ally but I’m pretty certain this is not the way to go about it. I wanna talk about this game we’re about to lose but this Rachel Dolezal story is way mo better. And so so frightening. Please don’t use Rachel Dolezal as an excuse to be ignorant toward light skinned and mixed folks. It’s not cute, too expected, and just plain gross. Wow. She went to Howard University on a full scholarship! That takes some kind of gall. The right wing is running with this story. My questions is, how did she get this far without anyone finding this out? What the…? Y’all may say she’s crazy, but I think if we would use people like her like white folk have been using the Clarence Thomases, Don Lemons, Stacey Dashes & nem for centuries, we might turn the tide. I just laughed tears. “Are you African American?” “I don’t understand the question.” She was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO not ready for the last question…nor the picture of her Dad. OMG, I just can’t with this….WTF???????? She said the first African hairstyle is seen in the Venus of Willendorf…. Her family is like, “Girl, you’re from Whiteville, not Black Town.” 

I am having my second miscarriage in a row. I am waiting for my body to expel a much wanted pregnancy that in our sense of joy and good fortune, my husband and I had already announced to family and friends. My first miscarriage this spring was very early (5.5 weeks) and I recovered from it with relative ease. But this morning, suddenly no longer pregnant at 7.5 weeks, I was flooded by a tidal wave of rage.

I yelled at my 5-year-old daughter who was impaling a potted plant with her light saber. I tried to pick a fight with my husband, who wasn’t in the mood to oblige.

And then, it hit me.

I

We mad fly; we
Dream dry; we
Scribble drunk; we
Fake the funk; we
Keeps it real; we
Sly conceal; we
Royal hall; we
Southern drawl; we
Bleed tears; we
Clink cheers; we
Fling curves; we
Gnaw nerves; we
Break it down; we
Class clown; we
Write raw; we
Down by law.

Eric Norris is a New York poet, born in Buffalo, and educated in Boston. After studying astrophysics, archaeology, and acting, he settled down to pursue English at Boston University, with a minor in Classics, Latin language and literature. Although he has been writing poetry for twenty years, only within the last three years did he begin submitting his poems for publication. Then all Hell broke loose. Terence, his first book, is not a book of poems, but a love letter to A.E. Housman, author of A Shropshire Lad, humanist, editor of Manilius and Juvenal, and perhaps the most feared and formidable scholar of the 20th Century. Encouraged by Housman, who published A Shropshire Lad at his own expense in 1896, and by the example and success of his friend, and fellow New York poet, Jee Leong Koh, author of Equal to the Earth, and founder of Bench Press, Eric has published Terence, with two other books (one co-written with poet, lyricist, editor, Tom of Finland model and former pornstar, Gavin Dillard) planned for release later this year. The landscape of publishing is changing. The way we connect to one another is changing. The old authorities are dying. New ideas are everywhere. We are re-thinking who we are as writers, as poets, as people—from the ground up. In the following interview, Eric discusses what shape our Renaissance may take and how we can bring our discoveries to the world.


Q: Terence is being officially released today. What is the premise behind the book?


A: Terence asks two very basic questions. What makes us human? What makes us different? I do not think Terence answers these questions. But Terence does pose them to the reader, I hope, in an entertaining way. They are two of the most important questions we can ask. The reader must arrive at his own conclusions.

Q: How did you come to the decision to self-publish it with Lulu rather than find a conventional publisher?


A: I decided to publish on Lulu.com because Terence is an experimental story and I didn’t think it would find a home anywhere else. Poet and Professor A.E. Housman, whose dry, scholarly shade haunts the action in the story, published his first book of verse, A Shropshire Lad, independently, at his own expense, in 1896. It sold very few copies at the time. But it proved to be enormously popular in subsequent decades. Since, in many ways, Terence is my love letter to Housman, as scholar, poet, and self-publisher, it seemed right to me that I should do the same.

Q: How do you plan to market the book?


A: I plan to market Terence on Facebook, on Lulu.com, on Amazon.com, through readings here in New York City, and elsewhere, The Rainbow Book Fair, perhaps a few paid ads on different blogs and websites. Also by giving interviews to online journals like this. Most importantly by establishing networks of friends here and abroad. The English-speaking world is much larger than the United States and the United Kingdom. Right now a copy of Terence is winging its way to Singapore. Marketing will take patience, time and ingenuity. That is part of the challenge of self-publishing. That is part of the fun.

Q: Do you see yourself following an alternative model for publication for all your work?


A: I think so. Publishing is changing, it is evolving. We are the plucky little mammals who will one day inherit the Earth. We move faster. We nurse our young. We can cope with the cold. It is easier now than it ever has been before for an author to compile and publish and market his own work. You begin by building up a small base of readers and branch out, online, at readings, in blog comments. You interact with them. E-mail them back when they e-mail you. Literature has always been a dialogue of great ideas which takes place over time. Now, thanks to technology, that dialogue can take place in real time. Anytime. Now.

Q: What would that model look like?


A: For some it will resemble a military campaign, brutally establishing a beachhead in the imaginations of others. For me, well, I am a better lover than I am a soldier. I would rather woo my readers with a word, with a kiss, like the English King does to the French Princess in Henry the Fifth: “You have witchcraft in your lips, Kate: there is more eloquence in a sugar touch of them than in the entire Pulitzer Prize Committee.”

Q: Self-publishing seems to be growing in popularity as well as credibility amongst poets and writers who find the orthodox literary field to be increasingly less democratic and difficult to penetrate, in part because of the impact that the Internet and devices like the Kindle have had on print publishing. Do you think that online journals and self-published books are where the freshest work is coming from?


A: There is a lot of inbreeding which goes on in the cocktail party circuit of the respectable world. Academia is probably the worst offender in this regard, probably because the booze is so inferior at most faculty parties. Academia is the Appalachia of the mind, in some ways, incestuous and largely insulated from the universe except for the science and engineering departments.

The liveliest stuff I see is coming from the online world, from all over the planet. In the gay and lesbian pavilion, saucy upstarts like Jee Leong Koh’s Bench Press, Bryan Borland’s Sibling Rivalry Press, and the late John Stahle’s Ganymede, have produced beautiful collections of poetry and prose. I have no interest in penetrating the orthodox publishing world, unless it is to crash the party with a pin and pop a few balloons. Whether a reader buys Terence or downloads Terence to his Kindle does not concern me. That Terence is read and, possibly, enjoyed is all that really matters. If the reader wants to say, “Hey, that was funny!” or, “Son, you should be crucified,” I have included an e-mail address so he or she can do just that. Even on paper, Terence is a fully interactive book.

Q: As well as playing the role of gatekeeper, traditional presses have functioned as the arbiters of taste and quality in the field. As we do away with this convention and self-published books come into the market, how do readers separate the wheat from the chaff? Will there be a new system of critique to go along with the new system of distribution?


A: Taste and quality. Yes. Well, there are many tastes, many piquant and poignant qualities.  In the 19th Century, editors redacted Shakespeare’s more peppery passages for the eyes of easily corrupted young ladies. The other day I learned that some well-intentioned moron was trying to do this to Mark Twain. I am not sure this is to my taste.

I would rather decide on what is quality literature for myself, rather than outsource my intellect to some caffeine-addled intern condemned to a slush pile somewhere. In the future, as more and more independently published books tumble forth from the presses, the hardest thing will be for the reader to pick out something good to read. Here, I think the reviewing system on Amazon and Lulu is a help. It is democratic. It is slightly chaotic, as all good democracies are. Any madman can post his opinions. (Look at me.) So can any genius. It doesn’t take long to identify who is who. With practice, one can learn how to skim through the reviews, sample a page or two, and make up one’s mind to click ‘BUY’ for one’s self. And then, there are the blogs, e-zines, sites we have developed a relationship with, friends on Facebook we trust.


Q: How do you intend to help readers differentiate your book from the morass of self-published vanity projects?


A: That’s easy. If you look at the back cover of Terence, you will notice that I got very favorable reviews from William Shakespeare, Sherlock Holmes, W.H. Auden, and from some spooky, ectoplasmic entity calling himself ‘Terence.’ Working the Ouija Board was a little tricky, at first, I admit. But once I figured out how to connect it to my computer’s keyboard, excellent reasons to buy my book practically flowed from my fingertips.


Q: How do you think the politics of your work comes into play?


A: There isn’t really very much politics in Terence. Though the question of what makes us human, what links us to one another, the principal question asked by the book has the profoundest moral and political implications.

Q: Gay writers, as well as writers from other marginalized groups, have tended to be anthologized more in conventional publishing than they have had their work published as part of the general pool, as it were. Is self-publishing Terence an attempt to break out of that mold?

A: In this particular case, no. There is very little market for stories like this, where one man confuses another man with a cow, so I thought I should take responsibility for Terence myself. Hats are another matter. Oliver Sacks made a bundle of money off a man who mistook his wife for a hat several years ago. I have plenty of hats, but I am not married. Being gay, I am not even able to get married in New York State. So, I had to write a different story. All I had to work with was myself, a man, a carton of milk and a cow. I did the best I could.

Tomorrow the slant of the earth will teeter
us another day towards November

and there will be a new light that shines
down. Looking up

at me now, she is all lit from within, saying
this drawing here is of me and you, it

shows where our house is, look, can you see
us, how we are lying on the rug here right now?

Harvest Moon

By Wendy Chin-Tanner

Poem

After the midnight feeding,
breath sweet and easy with milk,
she curls into a comma,
like an embryo still in the night,
while slowly letting go,
I creep across the cool floorboards
back to the big bed.
He holds the duvet open
as chilled, pressing against
the warm bowl of his stomach,
I remember my mother’s sachets of rice
wrapped hot in clean white handkerchiefs,
how she rolled the steaming bundles
round and redolent with jasmine
over my bellyaches,
the comfort of that yielding heat,
and turning my ear to him,
I hear the faint murmur
of his resting heart,
and beyond us, faceless,
tumescent with light,
the moon is yellow as a sun
over the high swollen tide;
it burns through the window
my unclosing eyes.

What are the best pieces of advice you’ve received about writing?

I’ve had the very good fortune of encountering a number of generous and inspirational mentors who have shared some fantastic nuggets about craft as well as the distribution side of the business. Here are three of my favorites.

1. On craft, the poet and creative writing professor Mark Davidov believes that one of the best barometers for whether or not a poem is successful is for the poet to ask herself if she has written a letter to herself or a letter to the universe. The former, which he calls “diary poems,” are limited to an audience for whom the particularities of subject or image resonate, whereas the latter have the potential to vibrate on another level altogether. While I do believe that there is a place for diary poems, I have found this to be a useful guideline nonetheless.

2. After I had spent about an hour over coffee detailing my numerous concerns about putting my work out there, Beth Bosworth, a beloved teacher and fiction writer who has known me since I was twelve, said:

“If you wanna freak out, that’s okay. Some of your worries might even be legitimate. But you’ve put in the work and I think you’re ready, so if you’re gonna freak out, save some time. Do it on your way to the post office.”

3. On how to handle journal submissions, the poet Dorianne Laux said that it was “mainly scut work” and that when your poems are rejected, “you just make a couple of changes, stick them in a new envelope, and send them someplace else.”


Who are your main influences?

I have been a longtime fan of Anne Sexton, going back to her now and again at different stages in my life and getting different things from her at different times. And Sylvia Plath is in there too, though my appreciation for her has arisen mostly post-motherhood. Vera Pavlova is a newer favorite, derived from my older appreciation of Anna Akhmatova. Louise Gluck, of course. Dorianne Laux, Nancy White, and Bruce Weigl really resonate for me, as does David Ferry sometimes, and much of the time, W.S. Merwin. Perhaps a little weirdly, Philip Larkin can really do it for me when my mood is right, his politics notwithstanding. I’m also a big fan of Catullus.


What are your thoughts on being a Chinese American Female Poet?

As Truman Capote used to say, “Oh, honey, don’t let me commence!” Well, the way I see it, the poet’s individual world is a prism through which we see the universal, and in my case, that prism happens to be Chinese American and female. I don’t shy away from race or gender, but at the same time, I chaff at reductive classifications. I like to think of my poetry, which is to say the cultural sensibilities, sounds, and tropes underlying my work, as quintessentially American and I am very tired of the caught-between-two-cultures narrative. It’s a vicious cycle of what seems to sell and what writers feel compelled to produce as a result. Who gets to speak? Who gets to make art and be paid for it? Who gets to be read? What discourses are reproduced in what is published? Who defines what American means? These are perennially important questions in a culture that is neither post-racial, nor post-gendered. But I do sense that there is more space nowadays for a wider, more non-essentialist range of expression, for the multiplicity of voices out there to be heard. To that end, I suppose one of my projects is to disrupt conventional and received narratives in a way that is perhaps covertly political and overtly subversive without, I hope, sacrificing the quality of the poetry. And addressing the gender component of this question, I would say that if Walt Whitman gets to “sing the body electric” and “contain multitudes,” then I should think that I might make the same claims about my uterus. It’s time for the white male body to no longer be the benchmark for normativity.


Why poetry?

It is a common belief that poetry can only be appreciated and written by people who have a certain type of education or a certain sensibility, but poetry is in fact one of the oldest and most universal forms of cultural expression. The human heart seems to have an unabated appetite for it. W.S. Merwin says that through poetry we attempt to say what is unsayable, and in that vein, poetry can also speak through what the writing leaves unsaid, what is written, as it were, between the lines. Rachel Blau DuPlessis speaks of this, of “writing between the lines,” as a subversive feminist act.


What is your poetry about?

My poems are an attempt to answer my questions about the world and how to live in it. They contain the notes on what I have discovered so far. And though I resist the label of “confessional” or “autobiographical,” it is true that my work is informed by experience, which is the place from which we get verisimilitude and a certain kind of poetic emotional integrity. I do, however, aim to transcend a mere retelling of experience.


How has motherhood influenced your writing?

Being a mother has influenced my writing in many ways. Perhaps one of the most obvious is that my daughter couldn’t give a rat’s ass about my achievements or lack of achievements, literary or otherwise. All she cares about is the quality of our relationship, that I show up for her, and that I am present when I am with her. That has given me an enormous amount of perspective, and along with that, the freedom to fail, which is really what every artist needs. Another thing is that I now have to be a lot more disciplined and focused about how I use my limited time, and that is very helpful for making poetry. I’m way too tired to overthink and obsess about how terrible my writing is – I only have just about enough energy to sit down and do it. On another level, I think the enormous physicality of motherhood has afforded me a certain freedom from the vice-like grip of the mind, allowing for an integration and collaboration between the language of the body and the language of the mind, between the subconscious and the awareness of subjectivity. The act of birthing my daughter on my own terms gave me my body back. It gave me a confidence in and awareness of the power of my body that I had not experienced before. I have stopped distrusting and fearing my body, and that has in some significant way mediated the disconnect between sense data and imaginative data in my work. Jorie Graham speaks about this in an interview with Mark Wunderlich: “Abstraction of emotion is not a use of abstraction that is positive, it seems to me. Abstraction in which the body thinks in its unbodily reaches is truly powerful, necessary, and another story – the crucial metaphysical extension of bodily knowledge.”


Where is your poetry going now?

I think I am moving away from a more narrative style towards embracing a more abstract, metaphorical, and laconic approach. I have been trying to leap more quickly into the centers of my poems. Lately I have been studying Buddhist koans and writing poems that attempt to reclaim in English a form that was originally quite rarefied, privileged, ascetic, and distinctly masculine, and then was later appropriated in a somewhat orientalist new-agey way. My riffs on koans are written from the perspective of a contemporary, sexualized, female layperson.


Apart from poetry, you write graphic novels with your husband Tyler. In fact, he was interviewed for TNB by Uche Ogbuji in June about your latest digital graphic novel, a post-9/11 era Bonnie and Clyde story called “American Terrorist.” What’s been happening with the project since then?

Although the Kickstarter project we’d launched to meet the publishing costs for “American Terrorist” was not ultimately successful, we are continuing to publish the book digitally on the iPhone and the iPad. Chapter 4 was released in July and we have one more chapter to go before the story is completed. We have discovered that we have a loyal international fan base, and so we remain hopeful that one way or another, a hardbound version of “American Terrorist” will come into existence.


How is writing poetry different from writing graphic novels?

In poetry, subtlety and restraint are key because all of the elements that make meaning in a poem reside in the word. In graphic novels, however, the de-coupling of the text from the image creates a certain tension that in the context of sequential storytelling allows for a kind of dramatic narrative that is big and bold, dynamic and full of creative possibility. The processes for making poems and making graphic novels are also very different. Poetry is a solitary business, whereas there is a great deal of collaboration in graphic novels, not only between my husband and myself in the writing and layout process, but between the two of us and the artist, the inker, the colorist, and the letterer. When you get a good team together where each person is responsible for their own area of expertise, the product can be greatly enhanced by the input that comes in at different stages. Tyler and I have been known to make changes to the dialogue or even some elements of story based on how pages might look after they’re colored or lettered. For some people in the industry, that’s considered really late in the game!


Is there any scope for combining poetry and graphic novels?

Actually, one of the next projects that we’re planning is a fantasy romance about reincarnation. There may well be some poetry in that book.


Jee Leong Koh is a New York poet hailing from Singapore via Oxford University where he took his degree in English Literature before moving to the US for an MFA in Poetry at Sarah Lawrence College. In 2009, defying the conventions of the professional poetry world, Jee self-published his first collection, Equal to the Earth, and has successfully managed to independently promote and distribute it against the odds. Not since the days of William Blake, Walt Whitman, and Virginia Woolf has self-published poetry been taken as anything more than the work of amateurs publishing their purple verse at vanity presses. Now, with the strategic use of social media, the landscape of poetry publishing might be subject to change. In the following interview, Jee Leong Koh shares the secrets of his success.

Fifth

By Wendy Chin-Tanner

Poem

For T.C-T.

Over this handspan of years,
my reflection
has been caught
in your bedside mirror,
sharp or dull
depending on the hour,
the light, the season,
how long I look.

Funny how the eye
can only see itself this way.

The first year,
we were like paper,
tearable yet unwritten.

Here. Take

this unadorned body,
this uncarved block.

We should burn
like wood,
like a good bonfire,
leaving no trace.

In the interests of candor, I should preface this review by stating that Nancy White was a beloved and formative teacher of mine when I was a student in the 1990s at Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn. It was in her class that it first seemed possible to make a place for oneself in the world through the written word. Nancy and I reestablished contact only a few months ago and I was sorry to hear of the difficulties she had endured in the time that had passed, but it would be no exaggeration to say that from the compost of misfortune grew an amazing thing: a book of poems called “Detour.”

The poem “Woven and Sewn” opens this collection with a surprising and arresting tough-love invocation: “You are no virgin listen. You must stop here.” This voice is both contemporary and timeless, assured and experienced, with its second person address aimed as much at the poet herself as to the reader. This dialogue exhorts us to take heed, to “Sit down,” for there are important things to be read.

White’s voice here sets the tone for the rest of the collection in which virtually every poem is spoken in the second person, an affect that results in an immediate, intense, and sustained identification between reader and poet. The use of the second person in place of the poetic “I” serves to mediate the potential of a solipsistic or journal-entry quality in such an introspective and domestic narrative. Instead, White transcends the confessional and succeeds in gathering and inviting a sense of the universal, of reciprocal alterity; a sense of the recognition of the other that is oneself.

As is suggested by the circuitous implication of the title, the narrative of “Detour” follows a non-linear path that mirrors that of the psychoanalytic process. The structure of the book, divided into three parts – “Smoke,” “Solid,” and “No Sequel” – moves from the cataclysmic events leading to divorce to an unsentimental review of childhood where a revised understanding and reclamation of the self takes place before returning to a present that readdresses what has come to pass on different and farther-seeing terms. Based perhaps on the credence that the only way out is through, “Detour” describes a kind of map of the internal processes necessary in the evolution of the psyche after your world has been shattered and ultimately answers the question: How do we express personal transformation in poetic terms?

“Poetry is a form of courage” which is the “ability to do something that frightens one, for one’s choices can’t be about being afraid,” says Joan Retallack. Similarly, Charles Bernstein speaks of an “aversive poetics” in which “mental fright” is the “place where poetry begins.” We hear this starting point of fear in “Propeller” where:

       you don’t know don’t know
       because all of this so far is mostly made of fear

As with “Propeller,” in many of the poems, the rawness of emotion is undercut by an adherence to and innovation of form. Replete with fresh turns of phrase, syntax, and construction, they showcase a delight in words and a playfulness of language, music, and line. There is also strong evidence of a sharp wit and an ironic, self-deprecating sense of humor.

“Thirst,” “Honest,” The Drinkers,” “Your Life Has Stood,” “Look Up,” “Tide Going Out,” “You Remember How a Voice,” “Your Mother Starts Talking,” “Ceremony for Coming of Age,” and “After Detour,” for example, are full of surprising linebreaks and/or parenthetical clauses that create a sometimes discordant, sometimes syncopated visual and musical experience that mirrors the interjections of the mind when one’s thoughts become at once repetitive and scattered.

In “Reflection in a Hard Surface,” these techniques describe the devastating guilt of an imagined complicity in one’s own betrayal, of not knowing better, of expecting to have known better:

                     not you (no one) he
        lied to you them us her and the you you
       thought you
       were isn’t now so who
       listened who ate
       the bait who let it into the
       ear like a drop of warm oil did it ease
       something there where we had hardened did we
       store his lie down in red coils did the hue of our
listening reach for him to tell it (the story) again (the story)
welcome and annihilating did we assist did we assist weren’t we there

“Grasslands,” bearing echoes of e.e. cummings, but with a sharper edge of melancholy, knowingness, and reflectiveness, demonstrates how White’s voice is more modernist than postmodern. The use here of the phatic function, or verse equivalence, with its disruption of non-verbal utterance, is at once amused, musing, and deathly serious:

       you force the car
       fast on the oiled road
       narrowing like love become

       useful but you
       are fruitful pining
       magic as a frying pan

       see how
       explanations pow
       smear harden on the windshield

In such poems as “Beauty,” however, we glimpse a more unadulterated rawness that is nonetheless controlled by the freshness and rigor of its form. Neither shying away from the hard facts, nor dwelling on the pain of them, “Beauty” demonstrates a trust in the reader that allows for the revelation of vulnerability. The vulnerability here lies in the specificities, just as the devil is in the details, and it is through the microscope of such detail that the simultaneity of the particular and the universal in such a loss is conveyed:

       … his neck smelling of
       narcissus his lack of hangnails his laugh like
       a landmine such intention

       of goodness his appearance golden his
       tantrums his silence frozen after fine sex
              cordial after bad his beauty his

       beauty his darkness is love

In “Summer,” White’s sense of irony and humor, her tendency to not take herself too seriously emerges and yet it is not lost on the reader that what is happening here is deeply serious as well as utterly human. Describing how one grows accustomed to certain habits of emotion, it begins with a meditation on the sadness of premature endings:

       Today the sun is out which is sad.
              Trees sad when rustling and when still.
              Leaves that drop in July. When the lilies
                     open their widest, it is sad to be
                     alone in the house…

The poem builds to reveal that:

       … It is sad that he slept
       with those women, some of whom you
       also fed at that table. Discussing it,
              civilized, was sad, and the climb up
                     again and again to start over…

And later, White writes:

       You think, when you feel it return,
              how loyal sadness is, how accustomed you are,
                     spreading its folds about you.

This ladylike image of sadness as a skirt spread around you, its politeness and primness, not only convey the awareness that such habits of thought are possible to change, but it does so with White’s keen, wry sense of humor lurking beneath.

And in “Your Father, Your Son,” White attempts to debunk gendered socializations as she tries to claim for herself “the fine foul language of his big male freedom,” to redress the dominance of maleness in pursuit of a big female freedom despite fears and expectations.

What is so appealing here goes beyond a mastery of craft and technique to something more essential: present in “Detour” is a sincere argument in favor of exploring the subjectivity of personhood that speaks to the importance of the evolution of a singular unique self. The elucidation of this painfully hard-won process in the poetry of “Detour” becomes an act of courage, compassion, and feminism.

White has a gift for putting disparate things next to one another in a kind of ontological plurality – different modes of language and different modes of abstraction. But the stylistic diversity is held together by an embodied, intensely physical and sensual urgency where each emotion is fully rendered and felt. It is this profound humanness and humanity that allow for the strong sense of satisfaction and poetic concretion with which “Detour” leaves the reader.

To that end, we see in the final chapter, as in “They Ask You About Middle Age,” the growth on an assertive hopefulness in the idea of harvest and the ripeness of personal maturity:

       Soft, barely believable mornings (and other sweet
fruits) do grow.

And the final poem, “Below the Lifeboat” shows us what can happen after going through the process, the promise of becoming “unified” “after detour.”

When the body
that houses you
runs down,
you move out
and begin again
in a new house.

Shame

By Wendy Chin-Tanner

Poem

I did not swallow
but held it
folded like a secret
in my mouth.