Heir Apparent

Issue #16: October 2013

Jane Wong


and the branches shook the lights out

and the fish to be sold had their heads intact

and the highway expanded into four lanes

and the garlic blossomed in June

and this should not trouble us

* * *

What is there left to recover?

Dandelions weaved in my black hair

Too romantic, try again

I forgot to throw out the meat and the air stinks


I tired to recover the air

I waved my arms around to gather a pile

The sky buckled at my jaw

* * *

I am afraid of trees that grow into themselves

The crows kicking at the root with their talons

Overgrowth of the organs, terrible

Branches rising from my mouth as if smoke could escape from a chimney

We have these frameworks, our skeletons, to keep us from getting tangled

Whenever I see a slug, I cover it with a leaf

It wears the leaf like a roof

These houses, trailing through the woods

* * *

and the cars piled atop each other

and the hospital added a wing

and the soup congealed in the refrigerator

and the garage opened manually

* * *

Once, I saw a wave unwork itself by buying out the moon

Investment in progress, in stars

In 1988, my mother modeled a sweater in a mail order catalog

My mother, in white, is exactly what winter should look like

I wrap myself in snow, in white, in my mother, and suddenly there is only


* * *

Two arms crossed between two tables

My heart crossed between

My eyes, out of focus

In January, I looked for winter underneath potted plants

But I found my brother instead

He had icicles for eyes

He was deep in the soil and made a home with slugs

They wrapped their bodies around his arms, over protective

This is the way ignorance works: do not look under anything

* * *

Sometimes, slugs slide against each other

And what, what then?

* * *

and the grease lined the pan evenly

and the carnations were dipped in food color

and the onion grass covered the walkway

and the starfish dried out in the sun

* * *

Circular, my life is an endless nest

I have grown tired this way, carrying twigs in my mouth

Framework of my heart, bending

Did I consume the weaker bird?

You tell me

* * *

Sitting in a cave full of gems

The head cannot focus

Light makes pyramids out of the body

Wouldn’t it be nice to shine out like this?

To put myself in whosever’s mouth and be exponential?

Light, light, little simplicity

I miss someone, but I don’t know who

* * *

and my mother smiles in front of the camera

and the meat glistens in the plastic wrap

and my brother loses his skeleton

and the place was matter and all

and all but matter



Nothing is disturbed here

The mushrooms left to soak overnight

Have doubled

I am not ashamed to say

I ate them all

At once, my eyes shining with mold

To light my loathsome way


Was I paying attention?

The boiling potatoes barely kept the lid on

Overpour as if I could help it

This bath of spores, spoiled

In the boredom of six o’ clock

My brother plays with his loose tooth

On the news, someone shoots his brother by accident

If I could drape guilt over me

Garlands of I’m sorry for pushing you down the stairs

Head to wall to head

It’s enough to make your jaw hurt


I have fallen into a well again

This, I deserve

A caterpillar crawls onto my sleeve and stays there

This is all I have

Above, I can see

Someone setting off flares

Bright apples exploding

In the evening cool


My feelings are coming loose

I hear the stir of raccoons downstairs, all smudge faces

The raccoons sing around me, to-ing and fro-ing

Not exactly a refrain, but a clone to join

My brother has painted his face to become

Pure raccoon


Consider the rooms that outlast us

Consider the water left standing in a road

The flooded rice fields

Especially the crickets floating to the neck, singing:

There is war in a country I have never heard of

There is a frontier in a country I have never heard of


Water dripped from the daffodils I pulled out

Of my brother’s mouth

To speak in the voice of the Destroyer

I held my head under water and gurgled:

I have debts to pay

Wickedness clings to me

I have no choice

But to cling back

In the late afternoon

The lake shrugs off its leaves

Please do not watch

I had to cut open the slow-poaching sun

I had to


star in the sky—

& octopus below

— Lorca

I held my arms out

And let it wrap me

In fits and starts

I fit its monster face

Just fine

Above, the moon

Brushed out

Has fur on its face


Even the sea loses

Its shame in tangled

Green waves in tangled

Sheets I wake

The tulips on the sill

Are translucent in death

These soft paper

Crowns my disintegrating

Head to keep me

Here you boiled down

An octopus

The waving tentacles

Moved as if by wind

Or will


The monster stirs

The sea with just

One hand

In winter, my nose

Runs wildly

You run the story along

You shut the door

“To save heat”

In the warming

The deer have coagulated

I have combined

All the seasons

I cracked an egg

To seal them together


I felt the itch

Of the sea lugging


The stars below

I yoked them through

My eyes

At night I throw sorry forth

As if gravel

As if gravity held in limbed light

Poured forth as I have poured

Hours into you and felt


I multiply an insect’s eye

I slip the eye into your dinner

In order to see me how I want

How I want to be seen

There is glory in gold!

Kaleidoscope of watching me sleep

In the smallest of rooms

Each eye, each tentacle

Has a house


To return after such a sight

A geyser takes down a fox

I saw its tail explode

In reds, oranges

To return after light

As bones we can not tell

The difference between us and them

My monster face fits too well

Shine a comet on me

You are you and I too