Jane Wong

5 Facts


Over the years, you have taught me to be cautious: knot the boat, check the stove, blow on soup, move in symmetry. I have come to the conclusion that caution will lock the window and curl me under a table during a fire. Even when I asked you: what is that howl under my bed?, you shut my mouth and chattered worry down to your boots. It was much too clear: you would not let me go, not even to check.


Paper cancels rock and gators can be wrestled by their tails and dragged like a palm leaf. But, you already said the only true thing I needed to know: too much salt will strike you dead.


When those we love leave us, they do not come back. Remember our dog on the ice, translucent and feverish. Circling on his four feet and the sound of splitting, bird-clear. Everywhere: fresh water fish and antlers clean in the snow. Gone, you think: he misses us. Gone, you think: he will rise. Under a sky of white water, I could have buried your cruelty in the high drifts.


I never meant to circle the lake so that I came in, wader heavy, with no dinner left and a jar of disappointment on the table. Even when I looked through and through, you were nowhere to be found and I knew I could not leave apology under a dirty dish.


There was a time when the dimensions of things changed themselves. We heard about water shaping canyons and felt sediment slip between our hands and, for a moment, feared its influence muddled in our veins. This, you said, is why we must keep an open eye, a steady watch. But I would not listen and closed my eyes with the brilliance and freedom of a night’s touch—discovering at once nothing and everything.


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