Looking Beneath the Sentence’s Wing; 1989

Wendy Xu

What I saw there;the grasses streams trees                      rivers stones mountains                   the pale orange crystal pulled from the rock face               the wayward clots of white and lavender cloudsluminescent jellyfish                        the inlet criss-crossed by birdsthe silver sheen of water                   children marking it with fists            and winds unbound by municipal borders sheltering me                                                                                           tender heartedlyneedle-nose pines in a damp field stinging the air                   covetous old knots on a string                                           still tied to my grandfather’s big toe in Shandongrough and green flowers fallingin a long traditionover his body                                         and my father straining his red-tipped ears                                          towards an American middle groundthe dark sermon of those early years                    crisis of distance                                                      and wild power of my mother—                           wild new discipline that nonetheless held                                                                            back feverishly her tongue

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Stephanie Bassos

Wendy Xu is most recently the author of Phrasis (2017), named one of the 10 Best Poetry Books of 2017 by the New York Times Book Review. She teaches poetry at The New School in New York City.

Summer 2020

New Haven, Connecticut

Yale University

Meghan O'Rourke

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