Angela Veronica Wong
from All the saddest songs of my 20s in a row saying hi.
Each subway line has its own quirks, its unique lighting. The lighting of this A-train is an unknown. It asks: are you a human being? Are you someone who lines your trash can with a plastic bag? I stare into the local train and wonder about the last time I sat in a local train. Did I have more time to spare? Was I too early for my lunch date? In winter, the children wear so many layers, they twist and turn in the seats just to feel their little bodies move. There is one child who sits quietly, inching closer and closer to the adult body next to him as if saying hi hi hi i'm here are you? Winter hat slipping over large eyes, small feet in small boots. It took his mother twenty minutes to dress him, one layer at a time, one zipper at a time. He needs to pee.
Sometimes animals don't commit suicide they commit murder. Have the second bottle of wine you've been hiding in your purse. The orca whale says that's a misnomer I read nothing I can remember I've hurt myself I can barely raise my fin. I've finally found the perfect metaphor for my shoulder pain. I'm glad to be here. I'll museum your face.
Three dead whales cut them open fill them with rocks so they sink to the bottom of the ocean. We have highly elaborated emotional lines I care about you I care about you my heart is a hunt I've been sounding for my child.
We have prey he says and rises from his card game.
Whale on whale aggression becomes a part of your daily life.
When we hunt we want only the best prey only the best can cause us to leave our card game.
An orca whale cannot sit through a four-hour German opera or can it.
A female human cannot sit through a four-hour German opera or can I.
When you are a human being sometimes you submit stool samples for medical tests. You are given a small plastic container with a label and a small wooden utensil like what you receive with a scoop of gelato. You retrieve your stool sample and there is an intense moment of fear. You tighten the lid on the container and throw away the wooden utensil. Place the container into the brown paper bag given to you by the nurse. Place the brown paper bag in your designer purse. Ride the 6-train to Union Square wondering what you would do if someone took your purse.
The prey is here someone told him over the phone.
I love you too.
The smallness of a bed the smallness of one bed. A steel bed under construction a construction site has walls the prey is here said the voice over the phone.
Women are deer they lick snow to find food underneath.
A structured handbag in a Prada store window I want it.
Angela Veronica Wong is the author of the full-length how to survive a hotel fire (Coconut Books) and the chapbook Dear Johnny, In Your Last Letter, a winner of the Poetry Society of America New York Fellowship. Her poetry has been anthologized in The Best American Poetry (with Amy Lawless) and Please Excuse This Poem. Her fiction has appeared in Denver Quarterly. She is on the internet at www.angelaveronicawong.com.