And leave a bit of ankle to show.
I take off my shoes and make myself
comfortable. I defrost a chicken
and chew on the bone. In public,
I smile as wide as I can and everyone
shields their eyes from my light.
At night, I knock down nests off
telephone poles and feel no regret.
I greet spiders rising from underneath
the floorboards, one by one. Hello,
hello. Outside, the garden roars
with ice. I want to shine as bright
as a miner’s cap in the dirt dark,
to glimmer as if washed in fish scales.
Instead, I become a balm and salve
my daughter, my son, the cold mice
in the garage. Instead, I take the garbage
out at midnight. I move furniture away
from the wall to find what we hide.
I stand in the center of every room
and ask: Am I the only animal here?
Copyright © 2021 Jane Wong
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.