Shelley Wong

Exit Strategist

A quarrel in white.

In noir lowlight, the women

don’t know who to turn to. Veil of splitting leaves,

veil soaked in rosé,

fluorescent veil

for kicks. Tree shadows approach.

You’re my witness. The dirty perfume

we trample on. Picnic basket

with too many arrows. My sword

crossed yours. I win, I win.

Don’t walk into the trees,

don’t clap three times. All the pretty moths

represent. One bird, one way out.

Is this a game?

Broken bridge,

says the bannerman. I hold a dead lighter

and the good book of knots.

Like a long apple peel,

she goes by. These arts I invented

so he could not refuse me.

A bowl full of fish

writhing in place. Out over the water,

I walk the plank, I’m off

this ship—

Shelley WongShelley Wong is a Kundiman fellow who lives in Oakland, California. Her poems have appeared in CrazyhorseThe Normal SchoolNinth Letter OnlineThe CollagistThe Adroit Journal, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of the 2014 Normal Prize for poetry in addition to scholarships from Fine Arts Work Center and Napa Valley Writers’ Conference.

 
 
 

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