Skip to content →


Jane, deceived by _____ time and again, should not _____ but she _____ and slept with

curled fists.

The rat catching a ride on the turtle wins _____. Ugly and coarse, but _____.

Beware of strangers who _____ and win your _____ and lick the sweat off your nose in

false _____, just to taste their own _____.

Do not trust in owls, in heads that spin. Heads should not spin nor stink, like ammonia in

the armpits, like a habit of _____.

Do not pause to watch insects _____ like dangling lights. Their soft speckled bodies, a

minutia of buzzing dandelion seeds, have already _____ you in the neck. Blood on their

spindle tongues. This is a metaphor for _____.

There are no wolves in this tale. Only handsome _____ with pea-green eyes who will tell

you: “You are as soft as _____.” Then, they will carefully cut _____ and _____.

Seek only the smallest kindness, of shaking out a pebble from a neighbor’s shoe, to do

unto others what you _____. Did you swallow _____?

Jane, called “intense.” Surely, heads spun, owl-struck, stating: “If only she _____.” Called

“feisty,” “talks too _____ or talks too _____.” Often: “Too smart for _____ good,” “I

never thought you’d be _____, looking like _____,” “you have big eyes for a _____,”

“curiously strong” or “_____weak,” or “it’s just _____ and it’s for the best.”

Her hair though, is the best, and is remarkably like kindling and okay for _____ to touch,

light, and ingest in flame, strand by _____. Ignore when she says _____ or _____. This is

_____ of Jane.

Jane rubbed salt all over her body to become a dissolving _____ and thusly, rightfully so,

_____ right out of this _____ world.

from How to Not Be Afraid of EverythingFind more by Jane Wong at the library

Copyright © 2021 Jane Wong
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Alice James Books.

Published in Jane Wong Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.