Lantern Review | Issue 7.3

Jane Wong

After He Travels Through Ash, My Grandfather Speaks

I have grown so many black hairs—it’s miraculous really. They sprout like seaweed, like the spindles of a newborn hairbrush. No one told me my hair would still grow, especially not in my ears. Somehow, my hearing is even better—like the wind along fat ferns. I hear like that, feeling the cold in the howling “o”s of your questions. Can you believe it, how I’ve forgotten the sounds of cars, the sounds of buses leaving without me in huffs of impatience? I don’t remember what a broken toothpick sounds like or how Chinese soap operas loop like precious snakes along my apartment’s walls. I can only hear the vowels of your questions, your fists curling and uncurling in sleep, the low rush of wind along ferns so tall—they must be pulled up by the sky.

Photo of Jane Wong Jane Wong's poems can be found in places such as Best American Poetry 2015, American Poetry Review, POETRY, AGNI, Third Coast, New England Review, and others. A Kundiman fellow, she is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and fellowships and residencies from the US Fulbright Program, Artist Trust, the Fine Arts Work Center, Willapa Bay AiR, Hedgebrook, the Jentel Foundation, and others. She is the author of Overpour (Action Books, 2016) and How to Not Be Afraid of Everything (Alice James, forthcoming). She is an assistant professor of creative writing at Western Washington University. • Photo by Helene Christensen

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