Jane Wong: “Aphoristic”

This Friday, October 21 at 7 p.m., Hugo House hosts a book launch for Seattle poet Jane Wong’s debut collection of poems OVERPOUR. In the Summer of 2011, Jane won Poetry Northwest‘s literary contest “The Pitch” with her poem “Aphoristic.”



If you stay, you will always make that face.
If you stay, a dog will bark and

a chandelier will break. A child will bite
another child, right on the nose. A lesson

learned will be a lesson worn, thread
barren. What is a good friend but

apology? As in: I need my old habits.
As in: I am sorry for the beetles littering

the ceiling, for keeping miserable
company. Truth is, I am nothing but

a close stranger, well begun, half done.
Having taken the bull by the sinking

ship. We both know when it rains, a snail
opens its eye. To see water seeking its own

level. To say there is no word for standing
in a windy field, looking at the back of the one

you love. Out of sight, out of sigh: an open
window. I once threw a stone into a glass

house and nothing happened. I threw it
again. If only to hope for you, if only to

waste not to want all too much.

Jane Wong holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is a former U.S. Fulbright Fellow and Kundiman Fellow. She is the recipient of scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Squaw Valley, and the Fine Arts Work Center. The recipient of The American Poetry Review’s 2016 Stanley Kunitz Memorial Prize, poems have appeared in journals such as Pleiades, The Volta, Third Coast, and the anthologies Best American Poetry 2015 (Scribner), Best New Poets 2012 (The University of Virginia Press) and The Arcadia Project: North American Postmodern Pastoral (Ahsahta Press). Her chapbooks include: Dendrochronology (dancing girl press), Kudzu Does Not Stop (Organic Weapon Arts), and Impossible Map (Fact-Simile). She is the author of OVERPOUR (Action Books).

photo credit: D John Walker Birdcage on window sill via photopin (license)