It was very hard for me to choose just one of the powerfully mystifying poems from Jane Wong’s recently-published first book, OVERPOUR, so I urge you to explore more of her work if you can.
“Field Notes Toward War”
The war is not over.
The streets are lined with little lamps of snow,
melting. Water pours without end.
There is a swan bathing in my mouth.
I have made a mess of it all.
Cotton in my eyes, too much
cast on my arm. All around me,
the mountains hum
a broth of air. A little on the tongue
is enough to feed. My eyes rinsed out
make a river large enough
to carry that which diminishes. I’m afraid
I will never make it home.
My mother feeds more envelopes during night shift.
The deer shift in limb light.
In the morning, we rake the yard.
She falls asleep in the yard, standing.
This bag of leaves, gathering.
Send death to swallow the war.
Send courage to tear each plume apart.
The sound of great wrestling.
It is enough to feed you.
The air settles like a magnet.
What choice do we have but to lean in?
The rocky regions of my brain quake.
It’s one damn thing after another.
The mountain of granite has a face I recognize.
I drape a scarf across my eyes
and walk into every wall.
Eyes bloom along the cliffs.
The root of my brain recedes.
Together, my relatives carry the bodies.
I carry this bag of leaves into the garage.
Above me, the sun leeches.
2 thoughts on “There is a swan bathing in my mouth.”
I love this imagery. Thanks for introducing me to this poet.
The poem is powerful. I had to read again. She is a outstanding writer. Her words gritty and hard.